Blood biomarkers in the early stage of cerebral ischemia

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2016 Mar;172(3):198-219. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Mar 14.


In ischemic stroke patients, blood-based biomarkers may be applied for the diagnosis of ischemic origin and subtype, prediction of outcomes and targeted treatment in selected patients. Knowledge of the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia has led to the evaluation of proteins, neurotransmitters, nucleic acids and lipids as potential biomarkers. The present report focuses on the role of blood-based biomarkers in the early stage of ischemic stroke-within 72h of its onset-as gleaned from studies published in English in such patients. Despite growing interest in their potential role in clinical practice, the application of biomarkers for the management of cerebral ischemia is not currently recommended by guidelines. However, there are some promising clinical biomarkers, as well as the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) peptide and NMDA-receptor (R) autoantibodies that appear to identify the ischemic nature of stroke, and the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) that might be able to discriminate between acute ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Moreover, genomics and proteomics allow the characterization of differences in gene expression, and protein and metabolite production, in ischemic stroke patients compared with controls and, thus, may help to identify novel markers with sufficient sensitivity and specificity. Additional studies to validate promising biomarkers and to identify novel biomarkers are needed.

Keywords: Acute; Biomarkers; Cerebral ischemia; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Brain Ischemia / blood*
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Stroke / blood
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / etiology


  • Biomarkers