Despite decades of research into the pathophysiology of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and neuroprotection, effective therapy remains elusive and our clinical role after such an injury is largely supportive. More frustrating is the number of promising therapies that are effective in cell culture and animal models, but have subsequently failed to demonstrate benefit in clinical trials. The heterogeneity of injury and physiology, and the uncertain therapeutic window, are barriers to the translation of neuroprotective interventions. Additionally, pediatric brain injury studies must account for age related differences in cerebro-vascular physiology and susceptibility to brain ischemia, requiring prohibitively large multicenter trials to assess clinical benefit.
In an effort to overcome these barriers to translating neuroprotective interventions, we use small animal MRI to identify biomarkers of injury and therapeutic effect in animal models of pediatric cerebral ischemia. A combination of real-time imaging, conventional longitudinal imaging, and rodent behavioral testing is used to comprehensively assess neurodevelopmental differences in the physiology of ischemia and reperfusion, and the response to neuroprotective interventions. We have worked closely with the Sun Lab on their investigation into the role of the sodium/ hydrogen membrane ion exchanger (NHE1) in cerebral ischemia. We recently used T2 and Diffusion Weighted MRI to establish that genetic and chemical inhibition of NHE1 is neuroprotective in a mouse model of transient focal cerebral ischemia. Additionally, this work suggests that the size of the lesion seen on Diffusion Weighted images may be used as a biomarker of neuroprotection as early as one hour after reperfusion.
By identifying MRI biomarkers in animal models of pediatric brain injury, we hope to provide a means for selecting the patients most likely to benefit from a particular neuroprotective intervention in subsequent clinical trials. Basing patient selection on the physiologic target of therapy rather than simply the disease state will reduce the sample size needed, increase the likelihood of observing a drug effect, and facilitate the translation of promising neuroprotective interventions into clinical use.
Three department members honored with named professorships at the inaugural SMPH Faculty Investiture Ceremony
Named professorships endowed by donors to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) convey both an honor and funds to recipients’ research and other endeavors. On October 12, at the Fluno …November 2, 2022
Peter Ferrazzano, MD, and Team Awarded Grant to build Center for Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Research
Congratulations to Peter Ferrazzano, Principal Investigator and professor of pediatrics, and co-Principal Investigators M. Alison Brooks, professor of orthopedics and sports medicine, Christian Franck, professor of mechanical engineering, and Traci Snedden, professor of nursing, who …October 30, 2020
Peter Ferrazzano, MD, Initial Recipient of the Enid and Jerry Weygandt Professorship in Pediatric Critical Care
Congratulations to Peter Ferrazzano, MD (Professor and Division Chief, Division of Critial Care), who is the initial recipient of the Enid and Jerry Weygandt Professorship in Pediatric Critical Care. Enid and Jerry Weygandt (Professor Emeritus at the University of …October 8, 2020
What We Published In May 2020
Al Dhaheri N, Wu N, Zhao S, Wu Z, Blank RD, Zhang J, Raggio C, Halanski M, Shen J, Noonan K, Qiu G, Nemeth B, Sund S, Dunwoodie SL, Chapman G, Glurich I, Steiner RD, Wohler …June 24, 2020
Pediatrics Research Week 2020 Abstract Book Now Available
The Pediatrics Research Week 2020 Abstract Book is now available. University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics faculty, staff, fellows and residents submitted over 50 research abstracts for the virtual conference, which is taking place May 26-29, 2020. …May 21, 2020
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