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Heart drug may help treat stroke

30th June 2006

US researchers have discovered a group of plant extracts that may have benefits in early treatment of stroke.

Cardiac glycosides, compounds which include heart drug digoxin, were found to protect rat brain tissue against the lack of blood which occurs in stroke.

The study published in the National Academy of Sciences may help scientists develop new treatments.

The researchers from Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina screened a large number of small compounds for neuroprotective activity by testing them on slices of rat brain deprived of oxygen and glucose.

Using the test - which is designed to mimic stroke in the brain - a compound called neriifolin which comes from the yellow oleander was found to be significantly protective against neurons in the brain that otherwise would have died.

Neriifolin appeared to show neuroprotective properties even if given several hours after the brain tissue was starved of oxygen and glucose.

The researchers said as cardiac glycosides are already in use, it could speed up the process towards clinical trials.

 

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