Researchers identify molecule that may help patients recover after strokes

Researchers discovered a molecule that may be a potential therapy for patients recovering from a stroke.

The molecule, known as growth and differentiation factor 10 (GDF10), is activated early after stroke, according to researchers from the department of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

They published their results online in Nature Neuroscience on Oct. 26.

They examined GDF10 in humans, mice and monkeys and identified how it contributes to axonal sprouting. In a test with animals, the researchers found the animals did not perform as well on motor tasks when they blocked GDF10.

“We were surprised by how consistently GDF10 caused new connections to form across all of the levels of analysis,” S. Thomas Carmichael, MD, PhD, one of the study’s authors, said in a news release. “We looked at rodent cortical neurons and human neurons in dish as well as in live animals. It’s a demanding gauntlet to run, but the effects of GDF10 held up in all of the levels that we tested.”

The American Heart Association and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NNDS) and Stroke supported the study with grants. Researchers noted that more research needed to be done before determining if GDF10 can be considered as a potential stroke treatment.

“These findings help to elucidate the mechanisms of repair following stroke,” Francesca Bosetti, PhD, stroke program director at NINDS, said in a news release. “Identifying this key protein further advances our knowledge of how the brain heals itself from the devastating effects of stroke, and may help to develop new therapeutic strategies to promote recovery.”