Blocking nerve receptor cuts stroke damage

Johns Hopkins scientists say blocking the nerve receptor EP1 in mouse models reduces brain damage caused by stroke. The researchers discovered how to block a molecular switch that triggers brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen during a stroke. The Hopkins study is believed the first to demonstrate a protein on the surface of nerve cells called the EP1 receptor is the switch, and a specific compound, known as ONO-8713, turns it off. The lead author, Sylvain Dore, an associate professor in the university’s school of medicine, said the finding holds promise for developing effective alternatives to anti-inflammatory drugs called COX inhibitors, which have potentially lethal side effects.

Receptors are protein-docking sites on cells into which “signaling” molecules such as nerve chemicals or hormones insert themselves. The binding activates the receptor, which transfers the signal into the cell to produce a specific response. Dore has applied for a patent covering the prevention and/or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases by administering agents that block the EP1 receptor.

Science Daily
January 3, 2006

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