Emerging Mechanism of Cell Death Caused by Stroke: A Role of Neurovascular Unit

  • Ryo Ohtomo
  • Ken AraiEmail author
Part of the Stroke Revisited book series (STROREV)


Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and even the survivors suffer from severe aftereffects. Although effective treatments have long been awaited, early therapeutic approaches focused on neuronal death had been insufficient due to the heterogeneous etiology of stroke. From the fact that brain function along with dysfunction arise from integrated interactions between a network of cellular components, conceptual structural unit, so-called “neurovascular unit” was proposed as a new paradigm for the investigation of stroke. Since then, variety of cell–cell and cell–extracellular matrix interactions have been discovered, which lead us to profound understanding of the pathophysiology of stroke. Besides neuronal damage, pathophysiology of stroke also consists of glial activation and transformation, vascular and blood–brain barrier alteration, and inflammatory reactions. Recent investigation shows that mediators of these reactions are not only detrimental but also could turn out to be beneficial for neurovascular repair in the chronic phase of the disease. In this chapter, we briefly overview the mechanisms of cell–cell interactions within the neurovascular unit under the normal conditions, and then discuss the crosstalk between different cell types during the acute and chronic phases of stroke.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroprotection Research Laboratory, Departments of Radiology and NeurologyMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolCharlestownUSA

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