Pathophysiological role of inflammatory molecules in paediatric ischaemic brain injury

Eur J Clin Invest. 2012 Jul;42(7):784-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2012.02640.x. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Ischaemic stroke is one of the major causes of death and lifelong disability also in the paediatric population. Strong scientific effort has been put to clarify the pathophysiology of this disease in adults. However, only few studies have been performed in children. Preliminary results indicate that pathophysiological processes might differently affect the poststroke neuronal injury in neonates as compared to children. During the neural development, selective molecular mechanisms might be differently triggered by an ischaemic insult, thus potentially resulting in defined postischaemic clinical outcomes. Basic research studies in neonatal animal models of cerebral ischaemia have recently shown a potential role of soluble inflammatory molecules (such as cytokines, chemokines and oxidants) as pivotal players of neuronal injury in both perinatal and childhood ischaemic stroke. Although larger clinical trials are still needed to confirm these preliminary results, the potential benefits of selective treatments targeting inflammation in perinatal asphyxia encephalopathy might represent a promising investigation field in the near future. In this review, we will update evidence on the pathophysiological role of soluble inflammatory mediators in neonatal and childhood ischaemic stroke. Recent evidence on potential anti-inflammatory treatments to improve paediatric stroke prognosis will be discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Chemokines / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Oxidants / physiology


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Oxidants