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Stroke Immunity

Proteins involved in the inflammatory response could be used to help in brain
regeneration following cerebral stroke, according to Swedish researchers writing in the EMBO
Journal today.

Complement proteins participate in the inflammatory response and scientists have suggested that under abnormal circumstances, following stroke for instance, their role in inflammation could contribute to tissue damage in the brain. This new research, by Marcela Pekna and colleagues of the Sahlgrenska Academy at Goeteborg University, reveals surprisingly that complement proteins may also have a beneficial role.

Pekna’s team have shown for the first time that neural stem cells and neural precursor cells express receptors for complement proteins and that the complement system positively regulates the maturation of neural cells in adult mice both under normal circumstances and during brain
regeneration after a stroke. A better understanding of the dual role of the complement system in stroke, and possibly other central nervous system (CNS) pathologies, may help researchers to design more effective therapeutic strategies by developing complement inhibitory agents that
neutralize the adverse aspects of complement activation while enhancing those that are neuroprotective and facilitate repair.

The paper is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.emboj.10974

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