Investigating a novel target for cerebral edema during stroke

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award

Stroke is a debilitating disease and the third leading cause of death in Canada. It stems from disrupted blood flow to the brain, leading to cell death due to lack of oxygen and glucose. A major consequence of stroke is edema (swelling of brain cells and tissue), and is the principal cause of death in stroke patients. Current treatments for brain edema, such as osmotherapy and surgical decompression, are relatively crude and ineffective.

We have identified a new possible cause of stroke-induced edema in SLC26A11, an ion transporter that is expressed in neurons throughout the brain. Our previous work shows that it allows chloride ions to enter brain cells, bringing excess water into the cells by osmosis. This project will probe our theory that SLC26A11 is a critical trigger of cell death during stroke.

This work could lead to a better understanding of edema during stroke, which could ultimately aid in developing new drugs to treat it.