Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have shown that a single dose of a new molecule they developed can effectively protect the brain from inflammation, cell death, and cognitive impairments that often follow a mild TBI. These changes could result from an increase in glutamate levels, oxidative stress, opening of the blood-brain-barrier, and in particular inflammatory activity followed by cell death (apoptosis).
At her laboratory in Jerusalem, Prof. Daphne Atlas has developed new molecules derived from the active site of Trx1, called thioredoxin-mimetic peptides (TXM-peptides). Thioredoxin (Trx1) is a major protein that maintains the oxidation/reduction state of the cells. In its reduced form it is bound to another protein (ASK1), which is released upon oxidation of Trx1 and activates a chain of enzymatic reactions that lead to inflammation. The newly-synthesized thioredoxin-mimetic peptides (TXM-peptides) have been shown to protect cells from early death via the activation of inflammatory pathways. Comprising 3 or 4 amino acids, these peptides have dual activity: they mimic the antioxidant activity of Trx1, and simultaneously inhibit the activity of enzymes called MAPK within the inflammatory pathway, preventing inflammation and cell death.