Johns Hopkins researchers, working with mice, say they have identified a chemical compound that reduces the risk of dangerous, potentially stroke-causing blood vessel spasms that often occur after the rupture of a bulging vessel in the brain.
They say their findings offer clues about the biological mechanisms that cause vasospasm, or constriction of blood vessels that reduces oxygen flow to the brain, as well as potential means of treating the serious condition in humans.
When an aneurysm essentially a blister-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel bursts, blood spills into the fluid-filled space that cushions the brain inside the skull. If a patient survives a ruptured aneurysm, between 20 and 40 percent of the time, this brain bleed, called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, will lead to an ischemic stroke within four to 21 days, even when the aneurysm is surgically clipped.
"We're a long way from applying this to humans, but it's a good start," says Johns Hopkins neurosurgery resident Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, M.D., M.Sc., one of the authors of the study led by Rafael J. Tamargo, M.D., and described in the October issue of the journal Neurosurgery.
To conduct their experiments, Garzon-Muvdi and his colleagues took blood from mouse leg arteries and injected it behind their necks to mimic what happens in a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Then they gave the mice a compound called (S)-4-carboxyphenylglycine (S-4-CPG), a placebo or nothing at all. The mice given S-4-CPG developed less vasospasm, looked better and were more active than those in the other two groups.
The scientists also found concentrations of the drug in the brains of the mice, showing that it was able to cross the often impermeable blood-brain barrier. The researchers chose the compound because it is similar to drugs that have been used in stroke research in rodents. It is not approved for any use in humans.
Garzon-Muvdi explains that when blood ves
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Johns Hopkins Medicine