How Metoprolol can Help Protect you From Brain Damage After a Stroke

Dr. Ibez’s group has accumulated more than 10 years’ experience investigating the properties of metoprolol, a beta-blocker that has been used to treat hypertension and arrhythmias for more than 40 years.

They first showed that metoprolol is beneficial in patients suffering a heart attack. The ‘eureka moment’ came when the group discovered that metoprolol protects the heart during an infarction by inhibiting the exacerbated inflammatory response triggered by immune cells called neutrophils.


“When we discovered this mechanism of action, we thought it might also apply to other conditions in which neutrophil hyperactivation plays an important role,” said Dr. Ibaez.

Following this lead, the CNIC investigators recently demonstrated that metoprolol reduces the exacerbated inflammation seen in patients with severe COVID-19.

Mode of Action Metoprolol

“Metoprolol, in addition to blocking the hyperactivation of proinflammatory neutrophils, appears to selectively promote the reparatory activity of the population of antiinflammatory neutrophils, resulting in notable improvements in the affected area,” explained CNIC predoctoral researcher Agustn Clemente-Moragn, a joint-first author on the study.

Study co-first author Eduardo Oliver explained that “testing the possible benefit of metoprolol in stroke was a goal we had been pursuing for some time, since neuroinflammation is known to play a central role in stroke-related injury.” Oliver, after a long stint at the CNIC, is now a Ramn y Cajal fellow leading his own research group at the Margarita Salas Center for Biological Research, part of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

The new study includes highly sophisticated brain imaging analysis, which was led by joint-lead author Dr. Manuel Desco. Desco, who combines roles as Director of the CNIC Advanced Imaging Unit, full professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and group leader at the Gregorio Maran Health Research Institute, also coordinates the Madrid Nanomedicine in Molecular Imaging Network (RENIM), a role that allowed him to coordinate many of the experiments in the present study.

CNIC General Director Dr. Valentn Fuster, another study coauthor, noted that “this study exemplifies an important new research initiative at the CNIC: the study of the impact of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors on other organs, such as the brain.”

Source: Eurekalert

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