A groundbreaking study conducted by the University of California, Irvine has unveiled a significant discovery regarding the formation of brain hemorrhages. Contrary to previous beliefs, the study indicates that brain hemorrhages can occur without injury to blood vessels. Instead, the study reveals that interactions between aged red blood cells and brain capillaries can lead to cerebral microbleeds, providing a deeper understanding of their development and potential avenues for therapeutic intervention.
Traditionally, it was thought that cerebral hemorrhages could only be triggered by blood vessel damage. However, this study challenges that assumption by demonstrating that increased interactions between red blood cells and brain capillaries serve as an alternative source for the development of hemorrhages. This unanticipated finding opens up new possibilities for targeted treatments.
To examine this phenomenon, the research team exposed red blood cells to oxidative stress using a chemical called tert-butyl hydroperoxide. The cells were then labeled with a fluorescent marker and injected into mice. Through two different imaging methods, the researchers observed how the red blood cells became stuck in the brain capillaries and were subsequently cleared out through a process called endothelial erythrophagocytosis. As the red blood cells moved out of the capillaries, microglia inflammatory cells engulfed them, leading to the formation of brain hemorrhages.
Co-corresponding author Dr. Xiangmin Xu, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at UCI, emphasized the significance of this discovery. He noted that studying the regulation of brain capillary clearance and its relation to insufficient blood supply and ischemic stroke, the most common form of stroke, could advance targeted treatment development.
This study provides a crucial expansion of our understanding of the mechanism behind cerebral microbleeds. By identifying the link between red blood cell damage and hemorrhages at the capillary level, the researchers have paved the way for potential future breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of brain hemorrhages.
What causes brain hemorrhages?
Traditionally, brain hemorrhages were believed to be caused by injury to blood vessels. However, this study reveals that interactions between aged red blood cells and brain capillaries can also lead to hemorrhages.
What is the significance of this study?
This study expands our understanding of the development of cerebral microbleeds and identifies potential new therapeutic targets for the treatment and prevention of brain hemorrhages.
How were the red blood cells studied?
The red blood cells were subjected to oxidative stress using a chemical called tert-butyl hydroperoxide. They were then marked with a fluorescent label and injected into mice to observe their interactions with brain capillaries.
What are the implications of this research?
The findings of this study challenge previous assumptions about the causes of brain hemorrhages and shed light on the role of red blood cell interactions. This opens up new avenues for targeted treatments and further research into insufficient blood supply and ischemic stroke.