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In the collaborative framework between researchers of the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, the University of the Basque Country and the CIC biomaGUNE, a new mechanism has been discovered that contributes to better understand the neuronal damage that occurs in episodes of cerebral ischemia or stroke.

cerebral ischemia is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in developed countries and occurs as consequence of the transient or permanent decrease in cerebral blood flow and causes irreversible neuronal damage that causes neurological alterations. An important part of this deterioration is due to the alteration in glutamate levels, the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, which in turn acts as a potent neurotoxin when its concentration rises, as occurs during ischemia.

The new finding highlights the importance of a molecule, the cystine-glutamic exchanger (xCT), in increasing glutamate concentration to toxic levels in experimental models that reproduce the main characteristics of stroke in patients.

The results of this research have been published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Investigation.