A gene called FOXF2, which increases the risk of having a stroke has been identified. It is hoped that this discovery may improve the understanding of the condition to develop new treatments.
The gene FOXF2 increases the risk of having a stroke due to blocked small blood vessels in the brain.
‘A new gene called ‘FOXF2’ increases the risk of having a stroke due to small vessel disease in the brain.’
Previous studies have found genes that cause hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, and those behind blood clots that cause a form of the disease called an ischemic stroke. A different gene has been associated with hemorrhagic stroke or bleeding into the brain.
Professor Sudha Seshadri, of Boston University, said, "Our research has identified a gene affecting another type of ischemic stroke, due to small vessel disease, and also suggests some genes may be associated with both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and may act through a novel pathway affecting pericytes, a type of cell in the wall of small arteries and capillaries."
"Unraveling the mechanisms of small vessel disease is essential for the development of therapeutic and preventive strategies for this major cause of stroke."
Small vessel disease not only causes stroke but is also a major contributor to dementia gait problems and depression.
Seshadri added, "Hence, it is exciting we are beginning to better understand the cause of this very important and poorly understood type of stroke."
The findings are published in the journal The Lancet Neurology.