Over 72,000 Australians suffer a stroke each year, 2/3 of which are left dead or disabled as a result.

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Stroke Research:

The stroke research team, led by Assoc Prof Renée Turner, is using novel, pre-clinical models to map the development of brain swelling and changes in brain pressure following stroke in order to develop targeted and more effective treatments to reduce the devastating morbidity and mortality associated with these conditions.

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Assoc Prof Renee Turner and Assoc Prof Lyndsey Collins-Praino

University of Adelaide

Pericytes and the blood-brain barrier – key drivers of neurodegeneration following stroke?

Funding: $76,629 - Perpetual

Project: The current project will investigate whether pericyte migration and activity contribute to secondary neurodegeneration following stroke. In order to investigate this question, the project will involve three specific aims:

1. To determine the early (primary stroke lesion) and late (secondary neurodegeneration) loss of brain tissue that occurs following stroke in two different experimental models of stroke.

2. To characterise the changes in pericyte migration and activity up to 3 months following stroke.

3. To assess whether alterations in pericytes are related to increases in levels of key neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory markers in brain tissue post-stroke.

Assoc Prof Renee Turner

University of Adelaide

Can we use the brains’ own protective mechanisms to treat stroke?

Funding: Coopers Brewery Foundation Golf Day 2019 $142,400

sAPPa is a molecule that is found naturally in the brain and levels are increased in response to injury as a protective response. Can administered sAPPa salvage brain tissue and improve outcome following stroke? This project seeks to determine whether administering this protein after stroke can reduce the amount of brain tissue injured, facilitate recovery and improve patient outcomes. Our project will rigorously test the efficacy of sAPPa for the treatment of stroke in both small and large animal models of stroke. From these findings we will be able to inform on the suitability of sAPPa as stroke treatment and whether advancement to clinical trials is warranted.

Assoc Prof Renee Turner

University of Adelaide

The role of pericytes in delayed post-stroke neurodegeneration

Secondary neurodegeneration and the underlying mechanisms of this delayed neuronal loss remain poorly understood. Pericytes are known to be involved in the early injury pathways following stroke; however, they may also contribute to delayed neurodegeneration given their roles in maintaining blood-brain barrier structure, transport, controlling blood flow, driving new cell growth and formation of new blood vessels. Despite this, no studies have investigated the contribution of pericyte changes to secondary neurodegeneration post-stroke. Accordingly, this study seeks to further understand what drives secondary neurodegeneration and whether pericytes are key contributors to post-stroke neurodegeneration. Specifically, we will examine the course of pericyte changes following stroke and determine alterations in key neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory markers.

Annabel Sorby-Adams research is looking at that brain swelling and increased brain pressure which are the leading causes of death and disability in the first week following stroke. Annabel’s investigations will examine the effect of a treatment, the NK1 tachykinin receptor antagonist and whether it can prevent the development of brain swelling and life threatening elevations in brain pressure.

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