Secondary damage following traumatic brain injury can be arrested with an oestrogen hormoneRSS Feed
A surgeon from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre has shown that one of three naturally occurring oestrogen hormones yields vital anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the aftermath of traumatic brain injury.
The science news source ScienceDaily.com reports that Dr Joshua Gatson, an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Southwestern, has found that oestrone, an oestrogen hormone, exerts a powerful neuroprotective effect when administered to male rats 30 minutes after an induced brain injury. Just 0.5mg of oestrone promoted the production of a potent cell-survival substance, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Commenting on the findings, Dr Gatson said: “BDNF, one of the main growth factors that regulates repair following injury, is actually increased following treatment with estrone after brain injury. So if you give this drug shortly after injury, it is thought to increase repair mechanisms.”
The inflammation that ensues following a traumatic brain injury is itself highly destructive when it persists, as it usually does, destroying neurons and exacerbating the original damage considerably. Earlier studies into the neuroprotective potential of oestrogens had focused on one of the other two forms of the hormone, oestradiol. Dr Gatson’s study opens a new door for further study and appears to yield more promising outcomes.
Current estimates suggest that around a third of all people who suffer a traumatic brain injury each year are left with permanent cognitive, emotional and physical disabilities, while more than a fifth die. Research such as Dr Gatson’s, which suggest means of minimising the destruction following the immediate trauma, is clearly to be welcomed.