Brain swelling post-concussion may someday be a thing of the past as the result of recent research identifying the cause of, and suggesting a possible treatment for, the swelling. The research, from the University of Arkansas, was published recently in Scientific Reports.
“Our study found that mild traumatic brain injury resulted in increased expression of a protein called aquaporin-4, which caused a massive cellular influx of fluid, leading to increased astrocyte cell volume and injury,” says Kartik Balachandran, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Arkansas, who led the study, in a media release.
“We then worked with a drug called Acetazolamide,” he adds.
According to the release, this existing, FDA-approved drug, which is used for epilepsy and altitude sickness, helps reduce the expression of a specific protein that causes swelling.
“Our results showed that Acetazolamide minimized cell swelling and injury, suggesting a therapeutic role for this drug in reducing the detrimental effects of concussions,” Balachandran states.
Balachandran’s team included Nasya Sturdivant, biomedical-engineering doctoral candidate; Jeffrey Wolchok, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; and partners at the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Arkansas.
In their study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, the team engineered a benchtop bioreactor to examine astrocyte cells. This device helped them see that mild traumatic brain injury led to an increased expression of aquaporin-4, the protein that causes a large cellular influx of fluid, which in turn leads to increased astrocyte cell volume, the release explains.
[Source(s): University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Newswise]