Protective features of peripheral monocytes/macrophages in stroke

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Mar;1862(3):329-38. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2015.11.004. Epub 2015 Nov 12.


Hematogenous recruitment of monocytes and macrophages has traditionally been viewed as a harmful process causing exacerbation of brain injury after stroke. However, emerging findings suggest equally important protective features. Inflammatory monocytes are rapidly recruited to ischemic brain via a CCR2-dependent pathway and undergo secondary differentiation in the target tissue towards non-inflammatory macrophages, mediating neuroprotection and repair of the ischemic neurovascular unit. In contrast, independent recruitment of non-inflammatory monocytes via CX3CR1 does not occur. Thus, protective features of hematogenous macrophages mainly depend on initial CCR2-dependent cell recruitment. Under therapeutic considerations, specific modulation of monocyte-derived macrophages will therefore be more appropriate than non-selectively blocking their hematogenous recruitment. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Neuro Inflammation edited by Helga E. de Vries and Markus Schwaninger.

Keywords: Inflammation; Macrophage; Monocyte; Neuroprotection; Repair; Stroke.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / immunology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Neuroprotection
  • Protective Factors
  • Receptors, CCR2 / analysis
  • Receptors, CCR2 / immunology
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / immunology*
  • Stroke / pathology


  • Receptors, CCR2