Nils Gunnar Wahlgren´s research group

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Stroke is the most common cause of handicap in the world and together with other vascular diseases the most common cause of death. The yearly incidence of stroke in Sweden amounts to 35 000 people and is expanding. This means that on average 1 person gets a stroke every 15 minutes! As is commonly known stroke is due to a blood cloth lodging in the brain or a haemorrhage in the brain.

Unfortunately this disease is very multifaceted, with many different risk factors and causes. The possibility of leading a normal life after stroke also varies due to factors as lesion size, post-stroke inflammation and other factors yet to be elucidated.

Risk of developing a stroke is due to both exogenous factors; such as smoking, air pollution and endogenous factors such as genes. Our aim is to identify factors that affect the risk of developing stroke, getting a second stroke and also factors that affect the vascular and inflammatory response in the brain during the stroke as to be able to affect the rehabilitation after the stroke. We also aim to find factors, both genetic and on protein level that would affect or modulate the medical treatment presently available, as to be able to optimise secondary protective measures after stroke and reduce side effects.

In our previous studies we have found that genetic factors previously studied; such as PDE4D, FLAP, LPL, ACE, MTHFR, ApoE; only increase risk somewhat or not at all by themselves. We have studied the post stroke inflammatory response in both human and rodents and found that some cytokines (IL-8) are present in the brain in elevated levels and that the inflammatory response is present even 1 month after the event.

At the moment we have DNA samples from more than 2000 ischemic stroke patients and more than 1500 healthy controls with an extensive medical history and biomarker database.

Research Projects

  • Evaluating multiple genetic markers concomitantly and being part of a genome wide association study in collaboration with deCode Genetics, Iceland
  • Risk profiling and evaluation of inflammatory biomarkers in ischemic stroke while collecting a bio bank with DNA, mRNA and plasma
  • Evaluation of degenerative markers in the brain after stroke in collaboration with Prof Björkhem, LABMED

Selected Publications

 Thrombolysis in stroke despite contraindications or warnings?
Frank B, Grotta J, Alexandrov A, Bluhmki E, Lyden P, Meretoja A, et al
Stroke 2013 Mar;44(3):727-33

 Selection for delayed intravenous alteplase treatment based on a prognostic score.
Fulton R, Lees K, Bluhmki E, Biegert G, Albers G, Davis S, et al
Int J Stroke 2015 Jan;10(1):90-4

Group members

Ann-Sofie RudbergPhD student, Graduate Student
Anna SteinbergAssociated
Boris KeselmanAssociated
Cecilia KarlssonProject administrator
Erik LundströmAssociated
Ioanna MarkakiAssociated, Postdoc
Jan MatheAssociated
Kerstin BergströmResearch nurse
Marius MatuseviciusGraduate Student
Michael MazyaAssociated
Nikolaos KostulasAssociated
Nils Gunnar WahlgrenResearch team leader, Professor, senior
Tatiana V KharitonovaAssociated
Tiago Prazeres MoreiraAssociated