Remodeling of Cerebral Microcirculation after Ischemia-Reperfusion

J Vasc Res. 2015;52(1):22-31. doi: 10.1159/000381096. Epub 2015 Apr 21.


Clinical and experimental studies have been focused on the pathophysiological mechanisms induced by brain ischemia-reperfusion injury. Recovery events, such as neurogenesis, angiogenesis and the growth of new blood vessels from the preexisting vascular tree, have been intensively studied in the last decades to clarify the vascular remodeling crucial for stroke outcome. This review aims to discuss the cerebral microcirculation remodeling induced by ischemia-reperfusion and the mechanisms involved in angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. The first in vivo observations were focused on anastomotic shunting of cerebral blood flow (CBF) in experimental and clinical models. Thereafter, vascular remodeling induced by cerebral ischemia-reperfusion was reported in mice and rats. Successively, other studies have assessed that within 30 days of middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion in rats, there is an increase in CBF and recovery from stroke. Recently, rats submitted to transient MCA occlusion showed pial microcirculation remodeling with the formation of new arterioles sprouting from penumbra vessels and overlapping the ischemic core. This review focuses on the production and/or activation of vasculotrophic factors able to trigger and facilitate microvascular remodeling. Vascular endothelial growth factor and endothelium-released nitric oxide appear to be the main factors involved in the formation of new vessels during microvascular remodeling. These studies are fundamental for consequent interventions on molecular targets, useful for fostering vascular remodeling and the recovery of functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiopoietins / physiology
  • Animals
  • Arterioles / physiology
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Collateral Circulation
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Microcirculation / physiology*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology
  • Pia Mater / blood supply
  • Rats
  • Reperfusion Injury / physiopathology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology
  • Vascular Remodeling / physiology*


  • Angiopoietins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Nitric Oxide