Enzyme Might Underlie Some Stroke Damage

Science News

The dismal range of options for treating a stroke might be improving. Scientists report that neutralizing an enzyme called NOX4 that shows up in stroke-damaged tissues can limit brain injury in mice. The study appears in the September PLoS Biology.

Stroke treatment is often hampered because the primary available drug, a clot-buster called tPA, is effective only within three hours of a stroke’s onset; many strokes are not detected until after that window has closed.

Knowing the molecular culprits involved in brain tissue damage caused by a stroke might give scientists another angle to exploit as they seek treatments, says Harald Schmidt, a physician and pharmacologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

To that end, Schmidt teamed with an international group of scientists to study the role of NOX4, a member of an enzyme family that makes free radicals—highly reactive molecules that can kill cells and contribute to tissue damage.

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