UC scientists have found a gene region that might play a significant role in determining the risk for ischemic stroke.
Reported Feb. 2 at the International
Stroke Conference in New Orleans, the finding confirms the importance
of a "stroke gene" (PDE4D) identified recently in Iceland, and might
prove to be an important tool for targeting all people at higher risk
for ischemic stroke.
The most common kind of stroke, ischemic
stroke usually results from a clot blocking a blood vessel, which
reduces blood flow to the brain. If the patient gets to a hospital
quickly and blood flow is restored, recovery can be complete. Delayed
treatment, however, can result in permanent neurological damage.
The UC researchers, led by Daniel Woo,
MD, and Joseph Broderick, MD, analyzed variations of the PDE4D gene in
384 ischemic stroke patients and 447 controls. They found gene
variations were significantly greater in those who had experienced
ischemic stroke, among both blacks and whites, when compared with
Other researchers at the conference
discussed findings in Baltimore, Md., that showed an association with
the PDE4D gene among young black ischemic stroke patients, but not
among whites. A third study from Jacksonville, Fla., failed to find an
"Our finding requires further
discussion," says Dr. Woo. "Nevertheless, we believe it's very strong
in that it mirrors the results of the Icelandic study."
The Icelandic research was applauded as a
landmark study in that it was the first large-scale, genome-wide
linkage analysis for ischemic stroke. However, although the PDE4D gene
was seen to be linked to stroke in a group of patients in Iceland, it
remained for the Cincinnati researchers to show whether the gene really
was an indicator of stroke risk elsewhere in the world, or merely an
"Our study doesn't prove that the gene
leads to stroke, just that those who've had ischemic stroke are more
likely to have the gene," says Dr. Woo. "But the research is in its
infancy, and we hope to demonstrate this genetic link in the future."
If this link is confirmed, Dr. Woo says,
then those who are predisposed to stroke may be identified earlier and
given preventative therapy.
Dr. Woo, an assistant professor in the
Department of Neurology, and Dr. Broderick, chairman of the department,
headed a team of researchers from both the neurology and environmental
health departments at UC.