Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Gene Expression May Be 'Therapeutic Target' for Stroke

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Gene Expression May Be 'Therapeutic Target' for Stroke

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO -- Characteristic patterns of gene expression in blood samples can now identify patients with migraine, Tourette's syndrome, neurofibromatosis type 1, tuberous sclerosis type 2, Down syndrome, and early ischemic stroke, among other diseases, Dr. Frank Sharp said at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association.

The notion that genomic expression can provide a fingerprint of a disease is increasingly proving to be true, although the patterns in blood are not as robust as those found in tissue and are sometimes seen in complex combinations, said Dr. Sharp, who is professor of neurology at the M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California, Davis.

The findings in stroke are particularly intriguing, however, with profound implications for better understanding the timing and nature of inflammatory responses to acute stroke, which in turn could aid in early diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. Dr. Sharp and his associates have identified shifting alterations in the gene expression in blood cells in response to stroke, reflecting the release of proteins, changes in neurotransmitters, and immunologic responses.

Early results of a University of Cincinnati trial found that a set of 18 genes involved in leukocyte activation and inflammation correctly identified ischemic stroke in 10 of 15 patients at 3 hours, 13 of 15 patients at 5 hours, and all 15 patients at 24 hours post stroke.

Patients who had been taking aspirin prior to their strokes had a significantly different genomic expression of 143 genes when their blood samples were compared with samples from patients who were not taking aspirin prior to enrollment in the Combined Approach to Lysis Utilizing Eptifibatide and rt-PA in Acute Ischemic Stroke (CLEAR) trial. …

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