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Can modifying scar tissue improve stroke outcomes?

Can modifying scar tissue improve stroke outcomes?
22nd May 2012

Modifying the scar tissue that develops after a stroke could improve outcomes for patients, according to new research.

A study at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging revealed that by addressing the tissue damage that occurs following a stroke disability could be reduced.

The discovery was made when scientists infused stroke cavities in rats with either the enzyme chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) or the protein heparan sulfate proteoglycan glypican (glypican).

In the both instances, the rats experienced less weakness and improved coordination, with the size of the scar tissue reduced.

Researchers also noticed that neurons around the injury "woke up", with the production of new neurites.

Dr Justin Hill, lead scientist on the project, commented: "We think the scar tissue not only blocks off areas of the brain that are injured during stroke, we also believe the scar tissue secretes factors that impact the function of nearby neurons."

Consequently, reducing the size of the scar could "re-route connections" around the injury.

This is important for improving the quality of life experienced by stroke patients by allowing them to regain mobility.

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