Alpha-tocotrienol - a natural form of vitamin E if used for 10 weeks as preventive supplementation, can protect brain damage post stroke, finds study.
Researchers say the findings suggest that preventive, or prophylactic, use of this natural form of vitamin E could be particularly helpful to people considered at highest risk for a major stroke: those who have previously suffered a ministroke, or a temporary stoppage of blood flow in the brain.
In the study, 24 hours after a stroke, lesions indicating brain tissue damage were about 80 percent smaller in dogs that received supplementation than were the lesions in dogs that received no intervention.
Imaging tests showed that the treated animals' brains had better blood flow at the stroke site as compared to untreated dogs' brains, a difference attributed to tiny collateral blood vessels' ability to improve circulation in the brain when blood flow stopped in more substantial vessels.
"For the first time, in this pre-clinical large-animal model, we were able to see something that we were never able to see in the mouse or the rat: that if you had a stroke and you had prophylactically taken tocotrienol, the area of the brain affected by the stroke received blood flow from the collaterals," said Chandan Sen, professor and vice chair for research in Ohio State's Department of Surgery and senior author of the study.
"These collaterals, which are an emergency response system, wake up when the blood circulation in the brain is challenged."
The study will be published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism and was recently presented at the 2nd International Conference on Tocotrienols and Chronic Diseases.