A way to preserve nerve cells in a rat model of stroke has been identified by a team of researchers, led by Yizheng Wang, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.
Stroke is most commonly caused by impaired delivery of oxygen to part of the brain as a result of disruption to the blood supply (a condition known as ischemia). This leads to nerve cell death, although the exact mechanisms underlying ischemic nerve cell death have not been clearly determined. Yang and colleagues, set out to test in rats the idea that disruption to pathways involved in protecting nerve cells from death contributes to nerve cell death in stroke and generated data consistent with this idea. Specifically, they found that degradation of the protein TRPC6 preceded nerve cell death in the rat model of stroke and that suppressing TRPC6 degradation prevented nerve cell death and subsequent brain damage. The authors therefore suggest that preventing TRPC6 degradation could be a way to limit nerve cell death after stroke.