Introduction: In recent years, accumulating evidence has demonstrated the key role of inflammation in the progression of cerebrovascular diseases. Inflammation can persist over prolonged period of time after the initial insult providing a wider therapeutic window. Despite the acute endogenous upregulation of many growth factors after the injury, it is not sufficient to protect against inflammation and to regenerate the brain. Therapeutic approaches targeting both dampening inflammation and enhancing growth factors are likely to provide beneficial outcomes in cerebrovascular disease.
Areas covered: In this mini review, we discuss major growth factors and their beneficial properties to combat the inflammation in cerebrovascular diseases. Emerging biotechnologies which facilitate the therapeutic effects of growth factors are also presented in an effort to provide insights into the future combination therapies incorporating both central and peripheral abrogation of inflammation. Expert commentary: Many studies discussed in this review have demonstrated the therapeutic effects of growth factors in treating cerebrovascular diseases. It is unlikely that one growth factor can be used to treat these complex diseases. Combination of growth factors and anti-inflammatory modulators may clinically improve outcomes for patients. In particular, transplantation of stem cells may be able to achieve both goals of modulating inflammation and upregulating growth factors. Large preclinical studies and multiple laboratory collaborations are needed to advance these findings from bench to bedside.
Keywords: Cerebral ischemia; biomedical engineering; growth factors; inflammation; neuroprotection; stem cells; trauma.