Neutrophils carry proteins that might be useful in treating intracerebral haemorrhages

Scientists shift function of neutrophils to heal brain after hemorrhages

Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and integral to the immune system. They are known to attack germs in case of infection, but a new study now shows that some neutrophils also may help heal the brain after a stroke.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston conducted a study to show that two neutrophil-related proteins may play critical roles in protecting the brain from stroke-induced damage in intracerebral haemorrhage, a form of stroke caused by ruptured blood vessels. The study suggests these proteins could be used as treatments for intracerebral haemorrhage.


Interleukin-27: immunoregulatory protein

The team of seven researchers hypothesized that intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) induces the production of interleukin-27 (IL-27), an immunoregulatory protein that triggers the production of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) in the bone marrow. Within hours of a stroke, PMNs — the immune system’s shortest-lived, most abundant cells — rush to the brain, where they release microbial defense-related molecules that have been known to aggravate ICH conditions. The study’s authors focused, however, on a subset of molecules released by PMNs that can be beneficial to a brain suffering from ICH by sequestering haptoglobin and lactoferrin, a healing gene.


Shift PMNs’ function from negative to positive

The scientists believed the introduction of IL-27 at the PMNs’ native site — bone marrow — could help shift the neutrophils’ function from negative to positive before they accumulate in the brain after a stroke and release their chemical-filled granules. PMNs are generally among the first blood cell types to enter the brain after a stroke and continue to infiltrate damaged tissue for up to several weeks after ICH onset, the study’s authors wrote.

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Source: Cardiovascular Business | September 22, 2017

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