Growing new blood vessels for stroke patients

Schematic representation of a potential anti-Nogo-A antibody therapy.

15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke each year. To date, treatment options that reduce the consequential damage after a stroke are limited. A promising new approach targets the repair of the vascular system which entails the regeneration of brain tissue and leads to an amelioration of the corresponding body function. In this study, antibodies against Nogo-A, a growth-inhibiting molecule for nerve fibers as well as vessels, were applied to mice after a stroke. The blood vessels in these mice showed improved regenerative capacity, and they recovered affected motor skills better than those of the mice in the control group. To eliminate the impact of signaling from the surrounding tissue observed in in vivo studies, capillary network formation was furthermore investigated in a three dimensional culture of human umbilical vein vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs) in defined glycosaminglycan-starPEG-based hydrogels confirming the in vivo results. Antibodies against Nogo-A are already being used in a phase II study to treat patients with spinal cord injuries and could soon significantly benefit stroke patients as well.

Press Release Universität Zürich


Ruslan Rust et al. Nogo-A Targeted Therapy Promotes Vascular Repair and Functional Recovery Following Stroke. PNAS. June 24, 2019. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1905309116


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