Tiny selenium particles could have a therapeutic effect on ischemic brain strokes by promoting the recovery of brain damage. Pharmacologists, including Alireza Mashaghi from the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research discovered that selenium nanoparticles inhibit molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the loss of brain cells after a stroke.
The results were published in Scientific Reports ("Selenium nanoparticles for targeted stroke therapy through modulation of inflammatory and metabolic signaling").
‘This lack of blood can lead to brain tissue damage due to cellular toxicity, inflammation and cell death’, Mashaghi explains. ‘This will, in turn, lead to brain dysfunction and neurological complaints such as numbness, vision problems, dizziness and severed headache.’
Ischemic stroke accounts for 87% of all strokes and is a significant cause of death. ‘So far, no neuroprotective agents have been shown to produce any measurable improvement in health in cerebral stroke cases. Our results now demonstrated that selenium nanoparticles inhibit molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the loss of brain cells after a stroke.’
‘During and after a stroke, the limited blood supply to the brain induces oxidative tissue damage to the affected brain regions’, he explains. ‘Selenium particles reduce this oxidative stress and the related cell death.’
This happens because the nanoparticles affect the metabolism of nerve cells and suppress inflammation, a major culprit of the harmful effects.
'This stroke-induced brain inflammation can cause excessive accumulation of fluid, which results in elevation of intracranial pressure (pressure inside the skull) and the clinical symptoms of a stroke.’
For now, the therapeutic nanoparticles are still at an experimental stage. 'However,' Mashaghi says, ‘in the future, we will assess the effectiveness of this novel drug in patients.’
Leiden University. Posted: May 07, 2019.