Brain ischemic stroke is among the leading causes of death and long-term disability. New treatments that alleviate brain cell damage until blood supply is restored are urgently required. The emerging focus of anti-stroke strategies has been on blood-brain-barrier permeable drugs that exhibit multiple sites of action. Here, we combine single-cell electrophysiology with live-cell imaging to find that β-Alanine (β-Ala) protects key physiological functions of brain cells that are exposed to acute stroke-mimicking conditions in ex vivo brain preparations. β-Ala exerts its neuroprotective action through several distinct pharmacological mechanisms, none of which alone could reproduce the neuroprotective effect. Since β-Ala crosses the blood-brain barrier and is part of a normal human diet, we suggest that it has a strong potential for acute stroke treatment and facilitation of recovery.
The authors are grateful to Prof. Lora Heisler (University of Aberdeen, UK) for valuable suggestions on the research strategy and to the personnel of the military unit 7420 of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for their service and support.
This study was supported by the Wellcome Trust Principal Fellowship (212251_Z_18_Z), Medical Research Council (MR/W019752/1), and European Commission NEUROTWIN grant (857562) to DR.
- Brain Injuries/drug therapy
- Brain Ischemia/drug therapy
- Neuroprotective Agents/pharmacology
- Stroke/drug therapy