The team led by Dr. Anna Planas, from the IIBB, has won one of the "La CaixaResearch" projects in the Health 2023 call to develop new treatments that reduce the side effects of stroke.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and disability worldwide, affecting more than 12 million people each year, and its incidence is increasing. It happens for various reasons, often when one of the blood vessels supplying the brain is blocked by a clot causing an ischemic stroke. Stroke causes the death of brain cells, which leads to disability, and increases the risk of developing depression and dementia.

The treatment of ischemic stroke involves restoring cerebral blood flow. However, more than half of the patients will present permanent disability, which is why they require new therapeutic strategies. The current project will focus on studying microglia cells, a type of immune system cell that resides in the brain. After a stroke and during aging, these cells accumulate small drops of fat in their cytoplasm, which are essential as a source of energy and as engines of cellular activity. However, chronic accumulation could cause defects in cellular functioning and potentiate neurological dysfunction in stroke.

The project aims to identify the key molecules involved in the accumulation and consumption of these fat droplets in microglial cells in response to stroke, the regulation of this process, and its impact on neurological dysfunction, both in youth and aging. The ultimate goal is to find new ways to modulate fat droplets in microglial cells to optimize cell function and improve stroke prognosis.

In the study, which will be coordinated by the IIBB, the team of Dr. Albert Pol of the IDIBAPS-Fundació Clínic Barcelona, that of Dr. Pablo Blinder from the University of Tel Aviv and the Ictus Foundation.