Africa-Press – Namibia. Russian scientists from the National Research University ‘Belgorod State University’ (BelSU), as part of an international scientific team, have identified a link between the structure of a gene encoding heat shock proteins and the course of ischemic stroke.
Ischemic stroke is a pathological condition of cerebral blood circulation that results in damage to brain tissue. It is the leading cause of death according to World Health Organization statistics.
Scientists have explained that the causes of this condition can be attributed to both external factors and the patient’s genetics.
According to them, the identified patterns may be valuable in the field of medicine for predicting the severity of a stroke and the duration of recovery afterwards. Their study’s results were published in the Genes, a peer-reviewed, open access journal of genetics.
In stressful situations, including during strokes, heat shock proteins are activated to minimize damage to the body’s cells. During a stroke, they help brain tissue proteins regain their proper geometric structure and prevent clumping, which can be fatal.
Researchers from the National Research University ‘Belgorod State University’ (BelSU), in collaboration with their Russian and British colleagues, have demonstrated a direct link between the sequence of the gene responsible for the production of the heat shock protein HSP70 and the characteristics of the course and recovery from ischemic stroke. According to the scientists, this will help to more accurately predict the course of the disease and adjust treatment accordingly.
Experts explained that the sequence of the same gene is often identical, but polymorphism – differences in one or more bases in the sequence – is occasionally observed in a large number of people at the same position in the sequence. Different variations of the same gene are called alleles.
He added that more than 2,000 people participated in the study, and when all the results are considered together, it is impossible to establish an association between the HSPA8 polymorphism and ischemic stroke. However, when looking at subgroups, such as men only or smokers only, it is possible to accurately identify alleles that indicate a high risk of stroke and a very severe course of the disease.
In his opinion, the work is also a fundamental research project because it brings us closer to understanding the relationship between a person’s genotype and phenotype.
The National Research University “Belgorod State University” (BelSU) is a participant of the Russian Federation’s Priority 2030 program for the support of universities.