Serine proteases and brain damage - is there a link?

Trends Neurosci. 2000 Sep;23(9):399-407. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(00)01617-9.


The protective blood-brain barrier normally allows diffusion of small molecules such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, and transport of essential nutrients, but excludes large proteins and other blood constituents from the interstitial space of the CNS. However, head trauma, stroke, status epilepticus and other pathological conditions can all compromise the integrity of this barrier, and allow blood proteins as large as albumin to gain access to the extracellular spaces that surround neurons and glia. Given their possible entry into brain tissue during cerebrovascular insult, the effects of blood-derived proteases such as thrombin, tissue plasminogen activator and plasmin in the CNS have come under increasing scrutiny. Evidence now supports a role for serine proteases in the sequence of events that can lead to glial scarring, edema, seizure and neuronal death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain Diseases / enzymology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*


  • Serine Endopeptidases