[Seoul, South Korea] Patients with brain damage due to strokes and trauma currently have no definite treatment, so they focus on rehabilitation. Especially in adults, the recovery rate of brain damage is known to be much slower or more impossible than in children, because the adult brain lacks extra nerve stem cells to repair brain function than in children.
Recently, Korean researchers revealed new mechanisms related to brain damage recovery and found that animal model experiments can actually shorten the brain damage recovery period by controlling the amount of protein. Hwang Eun-mi, a team of researchers at the Institute of Brain Science at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), conducted a joint study with Professor Seok Kyung-ho of Kyungpook National University’s College of Medicine to find that a new two proteins (Hevin-Calcyon) is needed for adult brain damage recovery. The team also newly confirmed that this combination plays an important role in the early stages of recovery.
The KIST team discovered that hevin, a protein secreted from long-unknown neuroglia cells in the brain, binds to Calcyon proteins, and scientifically proved that these bonds play a very important role in nerve cell recovery. Neurons are cells that are generally known to be directly involved in the functional aspects of the brain, and brain diseases can be treated only when nerve cells are recovered.
The research team found that increasing the Hevin-Calcyon bond in the brain quickly creates more connections between neurons in the brain, resulting in early recovery of damaged brain function. The research team found that in patients with traumatic brain damage, the amount of binding proteins decreased significantly.
Researchers at Kyungpook National University confirmed the process of recovering brain damage by using a combined protein. The researchers found that the enzyme protein induced by inflammatory reactions early in brain damage breaks down the Hevin protein and inhibits the Hevin Calcyon bond. In an animal experiment with brain damage that recovers in about four weeks, it was confirmed that direct injection of inflammatory response inhibitors to the brain’s damaged area was fast enough to recover in two to three weeks, and on the contrary, additional inflammatory proteins slowed recovery.
The joint research team found that a lack of Hevin Calcyon bonds in the early stages of brain damage recovery is likely to hamper the effective recovery process. The research team expects that this study could lead to the development of treatments for intractable brain diseases related to synaptic formation disorders in the future.
Source: Kim, JH., Jung, HG., Kim, A. et al. Hevin–calcyon interaction promotes synaptic reorganization after brain injury. Cell Death Differ (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41418-021-00772-5