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Promising New Stroke Therapy

Synthetic antioxidant may help victims hours after a stroke

TUESDAY, Oct. 1, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A synthetic antioxidant that can reduce brain damage by more than 40 percent in animal models of stroke may be a promising candidate for human stroke therapy.

That's the finding of a study in the October issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

In this study by researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center and Duke University Medical Center, the synthetic antioxidant called AEOL 10150 proved effective when given 7.5 hours after the start of a stroke. That's a significant point.

"Because the onset of stroke can be difficult to detect, many patients do not get treatment for several hours," says study co-author Dr. James Crapo, chairman of the department of medicine at National Jewish. "Our findings suggest that the antioxidant is a promising candidate for stroke therapy because it can prevent damage so many hours after the stroke begins."

A stroke occurs when blood vessels in the brain are blocked or leak, causing an interruption of blood flow to the brain. That deprives brain cells of oxygen and they start to die. Even after blood flow to the brain is restored, brain cells injured by the oxygen deprivation continue to die for hours after the stroke.

Those injured brain cells are killed by highly reactive molecules called free radicals.

In this study, researchers used the synthetic antioxidant AEOL 10150 to neutralize those damaging free radicals and reduce brain cell death in mice who had their cerebral arteries blocked for 90 minutes. Six hours after their cerebral arteries were reopened, the mice had either AEOL 10150 or a placebo injected into their brains.

When the mice were evaluated a week later, the mice who received the synthetic antioxidant had 92 cubic millimeters of brain tissue destroyed by the stroke, 43 percent less than the 160 cubic millimeters of brain tissue destroyed in the mice who received the placebo.

"There is a significant arc of potentially salvageable tissues surrounding the cells that are killed by the initial stroke," says Dr. David S. Warner, professor of anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center. "The antioxidant appears to protect this tissue."

More information

Learn more about stroke at the American Stroke Association.

SOURCE: National Jewish Medical and Research Center, news release, Oct. 1, 2002
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