Ischaemic Stroke and Placenta

Find out how Amnion and Placental Cells could help to treat Ischaemic stroke

What is stroke?

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the UK, affecting more than 100,000 people each year. There are two main types of stroke:

– Ischaemic, which develops due to a blocked blood vessel in the brain.

– Haemorrhagic, which is caused by bleeding in the brain.

Ischaemic stroke is the most common type of stroke and occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. These blood clots often gather in areas of the arteries which have been blocked by fatty deposits and cholesterol plaque over time. A blood clot may stick to the plaque build-up, creating a blockage within the blood vessel.

When these arteries are blocked, the brain is unable to receive essential nutrients and oxygen from the bloodstream. As a result, many brain cells die and release cytoplasmic contents which evoke brain inflammation and subsequently damage tissue.

These inflammatory conditions may result in acute or prolonged inflammation, which can decrease brain function and hinder regenerative processes, resulting in devastating health complications such as visual problems or severe language impairments.

Ischaemic Stroke Facts

  • About 87% of all strokes are ischaemic strokes
  • One stroke occurs every 5 minutes
  • Typically, risk of ischemic stroke increases with age. However, stroke can happen at any age
  • In England, 1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime
  • 30% of people who have a stroke will experience another stroke later in life
  • Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the UK
  • People of ethnic minority are twice as likely to have a stroke compared to white people

There are many factors which may cause an ischaemic stroke to occur including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, obesity or an unhealthy lifestyle. Various treatments are available for ischaemic stroke, which aim to remove the blood clot from the brain to prevent further damage.

However, a growing number of studies using placenta cells have recently focused on treating acute brain inflammation associated with ischaemic stroke.

Ischaemic Stroke and Placenta: Developments

Whilst there has been only one in-man clinical trial using placenta cells in the treatment of ischaemic stroke, there have been many scientific studies using the placenta to treat stroke in animal models. Many of these have demonstrated that amniotic membrane stem cells (AMSCs) possess unique properties which help to reduce the inflammation of the brain suffered by stroke patients.

A study conducted in 2018 investigated the application of AMSCs in the treatment of ischaemic rats and found the cells improved immune response regulation and reduced brain inflammation. The results suggest that the injected AMSCs significantly decreased inflammatory responses resulting from ischaemic damage and even provided protective effects which improved brain function.

Various other studies have also investigated the use of placenta-derived cells (PMSCs) in treating post-stroke inflammation. The findings of these studies have suggested that the unique immunosuppressive abilities of PMSCs can increase cell survival, improve neurological functional recovery, and decrease overall brain inflammation.

Although studies are in the early stages of research, they show great promise for stem cell therapy using placenta cells in the treatment of ischaemic stroke and suggest doctors may soon be able to alleviate the symptoms suffered by patients.

References

  1. Taeho, Kong, ‘Immunomodulatory effect of CD200-positive human placenta-derived stem cells in the early phase of stroke’, Experimental & Molecular Medicine, 2018, 50, pp. 1-12, accessed <https://www.nature.com/articles/emm2017233.pdf>
  2. Gov.uk, New figures show larger proportion of strokes in the middle aged, 2018, accessed 25th October 2019, <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-figures-show-larger-proportion-of-strokes-in-the-middle-aged>
  3. Medical News Today, What to know about ischemic stroke, accessed 25th October 2019, <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318098.php>
  4. Stroke Association, State of the Nation – Stroke Statistics, accessed 25th October 2019, <https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/state_of_the_nation_2017_final_1.pdf>

The information contained in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical expert. If you have any concerns about your health we urge you to discuss them with your doctor.

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