Researchers Used Bioengineered Gel to Regenerate Brain Tissue in Mice After Stroke

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A recent study reported by UCLA researchers in Nature Materials shows that for the first time, a stroke-healing gel helped with growing neurons and blood vessels in mice that had stroke-damaged brains.

Dr. S. Thomas Carmichael is the Professor and Chair of neurology at UCLA. He stated:

“We tested this in laboratory mice to determine if it would repair the brain in a model of stroke, and lead to recovery. This study indicated that new brain tissue can be regenerated in what was previously just an inactive brain scar after stroke.”

The study shows that it might in the future be successful in treating people after a stroke, added Dr. Tatiana Segura, a professor at Duke University and collaborator of the study.

After diseases or stroke, the brain can only recover a little. However, it cannot regenerate new blood vessels or tissue structures. After a stroke, the brain leaves a cavity that has no blood vessels, neurons or axons.

Segura created a gel and injected it in the stroke cavity of a mice’s brain. The gel mimics the properties of brain tissue and contains molecules to stimulate the growth of blood vessels, suppressing inflammation to promote regrowth of the tissue.

Brain Tissue Regenerated in 16 Weeks

After testing the gel for 16 weeks, the cavities resulted from stroke had started regenerating brain tissue in the affected mice. It also showed new networks in the area. The mice with new neurons had an improved motor behavior, according to Segura:

“The new axons could actually be working. Or the new tissue could be improving the performance of the surrounding, unharmed brain tissue.”

The gel was absorbed by the body and then it left new tissue in the cavity.

Researchers wanted to explore how the brain could recover after an acute stroke. In mice, the recovery is in five days, while in humans after two months. The next step would be for the researchers to see if the gel can help regenerate brain tissue long time after a stroke.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere