Lasting brain damage caused by stroke could be reduced by saving a certain type of cell, according to researchers.

The team from Oxford University, University College London and the University of Copenhagen found protecting cells called pericytes could reduce long-term brain damage after strokes.

In the new study published this week, the researchers show the brain's blood supply is mainly controlled by the narrowing or widening of capillaries as pericytes tighten or loosen around them.