Researchers have discovered a protein found in the venom of deadly funnel-web spider that may prevent the human brain from the devastating damage which may occur as a result of a stroke.
Researchers from the University of Queensland and Monash University said the small protein from the venom of the spider showed great promise as a future stroke treatment.
The study shows that a small protein found in its poison called Hi1a (a disulfide-rich spider venom peptide) can block acid-sensing ion channels in the brain which are the key drivers of brain damage after stroke.
Intracerebroventricular administration to rats of a single small dose of Hi1a (2 ng/kg) up to 8 h after stroke induction by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery markedly reduced infarct size and this correlated with improved neurological and motor function, as well as with preservation of neuronal architecture.
“We believe that we have, for the first time, found a way to minimize the effects of brain damage after a stroke,” said Professor Glenn King, who led the research.
“This world-first discovery will help us provide better outcomes for stroke survivors by limiting the brain damage and disability caused by this devastating injury,” King said.
Researchers hope that this discovery could significantly help improve outcomes for stroke patients. The next step would be to conduct human trials to find out if the results prove to be as effective.
The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.