A new Australian-linked study, one of the largest of its kind, has identified the first genetic mechanism that could influence the recovery of stroke, pointing to new ways of treating the major medical condition.
This is according to a statement from Australia’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health medical research facility.
The study revealed a variation in the PATJ gene that likely influences its expression levels and results in a worse recovery after stroke caused by a blocked brain vessel, called an ischaemic stroke.
“We don’t yet know the exact way this gene variation influences stroke recovery, but this is the first step in a series of experiments to identify recovery mechanisms,” said the institute’s stroke team head Prof. Vincent Thijs.
The study, which included research from Australia’s Victoria state capital Melbourne, Europe and the U.S., examined previously published genomes of more than 2,000 individuals of European ancestry, who were recovering from a stroke.
A stroke occurs when blood cannot supply oxygen and crucial nutrients to brain cells.
Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability in Australia and more than half of stroke survivors will have long-lasting brain impairments, such as language or movement problems, according to the institute.
While some patients recover completely in the long run, others have incomplete or no recovery at all.
The latest findings, which were published in medical journal Circulation Research, “provides the first evidence that our genes could determine the extent of our recovery, at least some degree,” said the institute.
“For the first time we now have a biological clue about the stroke recovery process in humans.
“We hope that further experiments in the next coming years may lead to a drug that boosts the recovery process,” said Prof. Thijs.
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