Researchers in Ohio have found that a previously approved and widely prescribed drug called gabapentin can help the brain repair itself after a stroke.
Gabapentin is currently used to control seizures and manage nerve pain, but in mice who have had a stroke due to blood clots, the drug has helped animals better control their upper limbs and improved after treatment.
This finding is based on previous research, in which investigators found that gabapentin interferes with the healing of a protein in the brain.
Each year, more than 600,000 people have their first stroke.
“When it’s high in protein, it interferes with neurological recovery,” said Andrea Tedeschi, assistant professor of neurology in Ohio.
He compared the protein to the car’s brake pedal. If you apply the brakes, no matter how hard you press the accelerator, you will not go far.
Subscribe to the contradictory, surprising and touching stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
“If you lift the brake pedal and keep pressing the accelerator, you can speed up the recovery,” Tedeschi said. “We think this is the effect of gabapentin on neurons, and that non-neuronal cells are involved in this process and make it even more effective.”
Stroke recovery: Ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot in one part of the brain, which leads to the death of brain cells in the affected area.
This can lead to long-term problems, including loss of muscle function, difficulty speaking and swallowing, and emotional and memory problems.
“Restoration of these functions allows for independent living, so it is a priority for stroke sufferers,” the researchers wrote in the journal Brain.
According to the CDC, more than 600,000 people suffer a first stroke each year, which means that millions of people will need help to recover in the next few years.
Researchers have found that gabapentin, a well-known and widely used drug, can help the brain repair itself after a stroke.
Natural repair system: The first level of treatment for ischemic stroke restores blood flow as quickly as possible, but the researchers found that this important step had no effect on the effectiveness of gabapentin, and that mice improved whether they took the drug within an hour or a day. after the onset of stroke.
After the strokes in mice, neurons began to develop axons and make new connections to send signals to the muscles controlled by the intact parts of the brain. and repair damaged circuits and structures.
“The mammalian nervous system has some internal ability to repair itself,” Tedeschi said, but that’s not enough.
Injured neurons can become “hyper-excited” by sending signals that can lead to muscle contractions and pain. If a brain protein called alpha2delta2 is shown too much after a traumatic event such as a stroke, it can slow down axon growth and contribute to this condition.
Better fix: Gabapentin blocks this protein, allowing nerve cells to regenerate and regenerate.
“We covered the receiver with medicine and asked if it would be more plastic. The answer is yes, “said Tedeschi.
Gabapentin restored motor control in the front legs of mice.
Good motor control of the front legs of mice receiving gabapentin daily for six weeks was restored, which lasted up to two weeks after dosing was discontinued; Control mice that did not receive gabapentin did not regain movement control.
Researchers believe that their study may be the first step in finding a new application for an already approved drug, even though it is far from reliable in humans. Because drugs are already widely used and understood, testing in humans may be quicker and easier than with newer drugs.
“These observations show a strong potential for recycling gabapentinoids as a promising treatment strategy to correct stroke,” they wrote.
This article was originally published by our sister site Freethink.