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Potential therapeutic targets for stroke and dementia

last modified Jan 08, 2014 12:36 PM

Brain ischemia is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, but the cellular mechanisms of delayed neuronal loss and brain atrophy after cerebral ischemia are poorly understood and thus currently untreatable. Guy Brown and collaborators have found, in work published in PNAS,  that after cerebral ischemia, brain macrophages phagocytose viable and functional neurons, causing brain atrophy and motor dysfunction. Their data show that delayed neuronal death and functional impairment after cerebral ischemia can be prevented by blocking specific phagocytic pathways, and therefore suggest new therapeutic targets for stroke and dementia.