Ischemic Stroke

Her investigations into neurorepair will support Dr. Ardelt’s clinical work with stroke patients and also have the potential to advance the treatment of other brain disorders.
Suffering a stroke leaves most people with few options other than to cope with the effects of irreversible brain damage. Physical rehabilitation is the only alternative after failure of preventative efforts such as diet and exercise, drug therapy or stent surgery to clear a blockage. In addition to preventing strokes, stents can treat them. However, the window of time for stent therapy to effectively reverse a stroke is so small that most patients survive a stroke with varying degrees of disability.
But what if there were a way for the brain to repair itself in the aftermath of a stroke and
return to its former capacity? Dr. Agnieszka A. Ardelt, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Chicago, will explore that possibility with her Brain Research Foundation Seed Grant. She has designed a study that will determine whether introducing into brain cells the protein Hu antigen R (HuR), which stabilizes messenger RNA and thereby regulates gene expression, will improve function—days, weeks or months after a stroke occurs.
Dr. Ardelt will use the middle cerebral artery occlusion model for studying ischemic stroke in mice. She will investigate recovery at early (24 and 72 hours) and late (30 days) time points, comparing the genetically manipulated animals that express HuR to wild type or normal mice. Dr. Ardeltexpects to see smaller lesions in the genetically manipulated mice, illustrating augmentation of cerebral neuroprotection and neurorepair. This repair should improve long-term functional outcome.
Dr. Ardelt will then try to identify more specific clues to how the stroke-damaged brain might repair itself. She will test various molecules that are relevant to neurorepair to determine if they change from having a beneficial role to a detrimental one during a stroke. The study will identify the tipping point at which positive new cell regeneration could morph into negative effects such as seizures and tumors.
Looking at how a damaged brain repairs itself holds great promise for understanding brain disorders that are the result of sudden injury. Insight could lead to long-lasting solutions that will help patients suffering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury as a result of a serious accident or military injury. Dr. Ardelt’s hope is that her work will not only help patients recover from strokes more readily but that it will help individuals with other brain disorders like multiple sclerosis, where HuR may regulate the expression of beneficial genes.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…