Lab Notes

Lab Notes

Drug shows promise for preventing brain damage after stroke

A drug used to treat pulmonary hypertension now shows promise in an animal model for protecting against brain damage and neurological impairment following a stroke. A research team from the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida found the drug selexipag, which is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, yielded marked improvement in neurological function following stroke in a study of aged rats. In the study led by Eduardo Candelario-Jalil, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neuroscience in the UF College of Medicine, treatment at 48 hours post-stroke and 21 days post-stroke showed a significant drop in inflammation and injury in the brain. — Michelle Koidin Jaffee


Researchers find genetic factors that cause muscle weakness, wasting disorder

UF Health genetics researchers have helped identify the mechanism that causes congenital myotonic dystrophy and have developed mouse models that will allow drug therapies to be tested. Researchers now have a better understanding of how the misregulation of developmental genetic “switches” in unborn children gives rise to congenital myotonic dystrophy, said Maurice Swanson, Ph.D., a professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of molecular genetics and microbiology and associate director of the UF Center for NeuroGenetics. In addition to severe muscle weakness, congenital myotonic dystrophy patients can have respiratory problems and intellectual deficits. — Doug Bennett


Study points to possible key in generation of chronic fatigue syndrome

A UF Health study has raised a possible explanation for chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS. Researchers injected 58 people diagnosed with CFS with either a placebo saline solution or the painkiller lidocaine. The group who received the lidocaine reported a 38 percent drop in fatigue. The drug appeared to block the signaling of muscle metabolites generated at rest that are then translated by the central nervous system into symptoms of severe fatigue. “People with chronic fatigue are sensing muscle metabolites while they are not doing anything, and they’re not supposed to be,” said Roland Staud, M.D., a professor of rheumatology and clinical immunology in the UF College of Medicine. — Bill Levesque