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Slices of living brain tissue are helping scientists identify new stroke therapies
Date:1/21/2009

ising in animal studies and outlined a new road map that includes better proof of efficacy in animal models as well as studies in human brain tissue focusing on the penumbra.

Dr. Kirov agrees. "Human brain slices as a model system can provide a missing link between animal models and patients and offer a unique chance to identify and study potentially useful therapeutics."

He is getting live images of glowing human neurons or astroglial cells to look first at the simulated stroke and then at what protection different drugs provide. The tissue is removed primarily during epilepsy surgery at MCGHealth Medical Center and Children's Medical Center. He replicates a stroke in the tissue by withholding oxygen and glucose then measures whether drugs can block anoxic depolarization.

There is plenty of living proof that cells can recover if the waves are short term: that's essentially what happens in migraines. "Some people describe these moving through their visual field: a wave silencing, but not killing, the neurons," Dr. Kirov says. Precisely what starts the wave remains an unanswered question. But he thinks he may be able to help delay or prevent the destructive electrical activity they bring without depressing usual central nervous system action.

He's testing dibucaine, a local anesthetic known to impact ion channels, which regulate the flow of negatively and positively charged molecules in and out of cells. Positively charged potassium, for example, normally leaks out through ion channels. With anoxic depolarization, there's too much sodium and too little potassium inside cells. He's also studying two sigma receptor ligands, dextromethorphan and carbetapentane. Sigma receptors are ubiquitous in the body, but little is known about their role and what naturally activates them. Recent research suggests sigma receptors help protect cells from stress by ensuring an adequate level of the properly folded proteins they need for normal funct
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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