Compound Protects Brain Cells From Explosive Force

by Lauren K. Wolf, Chemical and Engineering News

Since 2000, more than 300,000 U.S. soldiers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, which can trigger memory loss and psychiatric disorders. Aside from counseling and rehabilitation, doctors have no way of counteracting the brain damage caused by bomb blasts and other severe impacts.

That might change in the future, thanks to a research team led by Andrew A. Pieper of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. The scientists have demonstrated that a compound, when administered up to 24–36 hours after a blast injury, protects a mouse’s nerve cells from degradation (Cell Rep. 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.08.030).

Along with Pieper, team members Steven L. McKnight and Joseph M. Ready of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered the family of compounds to which this molecule belongs several years ago. Searching for agents to promote the growth of new nerve cells in the brain, they hit upon an aminopropyl carbazole that they dubbed P7C3. Rather than spurring cell growth, though, this compound increased the survival rate for new neurons, the researchers found. From there, the team synthesized derivatives of P7C3 with improved effects.  Read the entire story.

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