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Researchers discover mechanism implicated in brain edema

Researchers discover mechanism implicated in brain edema
20th March 2012

Researchers have identified one of the mechanisms that cause brain edema, which often occurs following stroke or head trauma.

When cerebral edemas occur fluid accumulates in the brain and causes it to swell. This can lead to death, comas and recurrent seizures.

A study at the University of Barcelona has, however, discovered the mechanism that destabilises the internal equilibrium of brain cells and leads to cerebral edema.

Scientists found that the protein GlialCAM - which is mutated in patients with edemas - regulates the channel that allows chloride ions to pass between brain cells and control ion and fluid balance.

When the channel is compromised, fluid builds up in the brain and forms the edema.

Raul Estevez, director of the study, explained the importance of this discovery, stating: "On one hand, it allows us to better understand the pathophysiology of this disease minority [and] on the other hand we have identified a mechanism that can open doors to treatments."

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