Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) occurs most commonly when an aneurysm in the brain ruptures, spilling blood into the cerebrospinal fluid. In patients who survive the bleeding episode, about a quarter to half experience a delayed deterioration (called DCI for delayed cerebral injury) in their brain function that leaves them with permanent cognitive and physical deficits. Our laboratory studies the inflammatory underpinnings of DCI.
It has become clear from our work that the innate inflammatory system (the non-adaptive part of the immune system comprised mainly of neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages including microglia in the brain) is involved in the development of DCI. Our lab is focused on understanding how inflammation leads to the cognitive and memory dysfunction in this syndrome. In addition, we study the effects of inflammation on blood vessels that lead to a proliferative vasculopathy called cerebral vasospasm.
The overreaching goal of the laboratory is to understand the mechanisms involved in DCI well enough to devise therapeutic strategies to treat or prevent the syndrome. In addition, we feel that a better understanding of this syndrome may contribute valuable information about the mechanism underpinning other brain injuries such as ischemic and hemorrahgic stroke.