From Medical Xpress:

A novel peptide appears to enhance a natural mechanism for protecting stressed brain cells and improve cognitive function following cardiac arrest, scientists report. Credit: Augusta University Photographer Phil Jones

A novel peptide appears to enhance a natural mechanism for protecting stressed brain cells and improve cognitive function following cardiac arrest, scientists report.

The brain is the body’s biggest user of oxygen and glucose, and “The minute your heart stops beating, blood flow is compromised to the brain. It’s called global cerebral ischemia,” said Dr. Darrell W. Brann, vice chairman of the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

Cognitive loss is one of the most feared consequences of survival, Brann said. And, certain areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus, a center of learning and memory, are particularly vulnerable in the minutes, hours, even days following cardiac arrest, a leading cause of death and disability in the United States.

So the scientists have developed a sort of bait-and-switch peptide that, at least in animal studies, prompts greater use of an innate brain cell protector, said Brann, co-corresponding author of a study in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The peptide is DEETGE-CAL-Tat and its bottom line is to make more of the transcription factor Nrf2 available to ailing neurons. Typically, Nrf2 remains inactive in the cell cytoplasm, bound to a protein called Keap1, until some major stress, such as ischemia occurs. At that time, some Nrf2 is released to…

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