Inflammation and the neurovascular unit in the setting of focal cerebral ischemia

Neuroscience. 2009 Feb 6;158(3):972-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.08.028. Epub 2008 Aug 27.


Responses to focal cerebral ischemia by neurons and adjacent microvessels are rapid, simultaneous, and topographically related. Recent observations indicate the simultaneous appearance of proteases by components of nearby microvessels that are also expressed by neurons in the ischemic territory, implying that the events could be coordinated. The structural relationship of neurons to their microvascular supply, the direct functional participation of glial cells, and the observation of a highly ordered microvessel-neuron response to ischemia suggest that these elements are arranged in and behave in a unitary fashion, the neurovascular unit. Their roles as a unit in the stimulation of cellular inflammation and the generation of inflammatory mediators during focal cerebral ischemia have not been explored yet. However, components of the neurovascular unit both generate and respond to these influences under the conditions of ischemia. Here we briefly explore the potential inter-relationships of the components of the neurovascular unit with respect to their potential roles in ischemia-induced inflammatory responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / immunology
  • Basement Membrane / pathology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / immunology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / pathology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiopathology
  • Brain Ischemia / immunology*
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Capillaries / immunology*
  • Capillaries / physiopathology
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Encephalitis / immunology*
  • Encephalitis / pathology
  • Encephalitis / physiopathology
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation / immunology*
  • Neuroglia / immunology*
  • Neurons / immunology*