When you cut yourself, your body rushes to grow new skin over the wound. And a similar thing happens when internal injuries occur: an influx of new cells develop, with the guidance of a microscopic scaffolding system called the extracellular matrix, which fills the space between cells. However, this matrix can’t help when the injury is in the brain, like a stroke. Researchers add substances to act as artificial replacements for the matrix, but cells often have trouble keeping hold of these, and new structures tend to be leaky and flimsy. But a new injectable gel can help support more stable blood vessels, such as those pictured forming around a stroke site 10 days after treatment. It’s equipped with a substance that binds to integrin – the molecule that generally joins cells to the extracellular matrix. With this helping hand to hold, brain repair following stroke may be within our reach.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.