Ischemic stroke, which is caused by a clot that blocks blood flow to the brain, damages brain tissue and, as a result, can be lethal or severely impair cognitive and motor functions. Previous work has shown that perturbations in noncoding RNAs and epigenetics mediate some of the postischemic changes that cause brain damage. Certain microRNAs, a subset of small noncoding RNAs, are extensively altered after cerebral ischemia and are implicated in mediating the secondary brain damage and plasticity after stroke.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that treating rodents with an oligonucleotide mimicking the microRNA miR-7 either before or within 30 min after focal cerebral ischemia improved motor recovery and decreased lesion volume. Furthermore, the treatment was effective when administered either intravenously or intracerebrally.
These findings suggest that rapid treatment with the miR-7 mimic, or possibly preventive treatment may prevent brain damage and improve quality of life after a stroke that would otherwise prove to be severely disabling or fatal.
The article titled, “The microRNA miR-7a-5p ameliorates ischemic brain damage by repressing α-synuclein” was published in Science Signaling.