Scientific title:
The role of haemoglobin in neuronal inflammation and cell death
University of Manchester
Principal investigator:
Dr James Galea
Grant value:
Research ID:
TSA 2012/07
Research area:
Start date:
Friday 11 January 2013
End date:
Sunday 8 January 2017
36 months
Year awarded:

Bleeding within or around the brain, called intracranial haemorrhage, affects people of all ages including newborns, adolescents, adults and the elderly. It is the most severe kind of stroke. Blood in the brain damages the brain tissue, leading to high rates of death and disability. Currently, there are no good treatments for intracranial haemorrhage. This study will examine some of the biological pathways involved when blood in the brain causes brain cells to die.

Earlier research has shown that a pigment found in blood cells called haemoglobin can cause brain inflammation and kill brain cells. The human body has mechanisms to mop up small amounts of haemoglobin but these systems are overwhelmed when significant bleeds occur in the brain. Research has also shown that blocking the activity of a particular immune chemical called interleukin-1 (IL-1) can reduce cell death caused by haemoglobin.

This study will use human brain cells grown in a laboratory to explore the biological pathways involved when haemoglobin causes cell death. They will test different drug combinations to make the cells better at mopping up haemoglobin and more resistant to dying. Ultimately, this research could identify new treatments to reduce the tissue damage caused by intracranial haemorrhage, thus reducing disability and improving patient outcomes.