Protein Responsible for Brain Cell Death in Strokes Found
Strokes, brain injuries, and Alzheimer’s disease have one important thing in common. They all cause the death of brain cells. While different mechanisms cause these health conditions, the result is the same. Brain cells do regenerate, but in the case of acute brain cell death with stroke or injury and progressive death in Alzheimer’s, regeneration cannot replace dead brain cells.
Fortunately, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have identified the protein responsible for triggering cell death. Mitochondrial apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) is a protein found in the mitochondria of a brain cell. When this protein moves out of the mitochondria and into the nucleus, it triggers the destruction of the DNA housed within the nucleus.
However, AIF does not directly break up the DNA. Another protein called macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is the actual mechanism that “chops up” cell DNA and causes brain cell death.
When the AIF moves into the nucleus, it first binds with MIF to transport it into the nucleus where it can begin the destruction. The team, which published its findings in Science, found a conclusive link between MIF’s DNA destruction and brain damage during a stroke.
Further research will allow doctors to investigate if MIF plays a role in brain cell death caused by Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Conditions that Cause Brain Cell Death Might Qualify You for Social Security Disability Benefits
Many types of brain damage, including damage caused by stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, make it impossible for a person to work and earn an income.
If you believe you or a loved one qualify for Social Security disability benefits, call the Disability Help Group at 800-800-2009 to speak with one of our disability advocates about your right to recovering disability benefits.