Stroke remains a leading cause of disability and death worldwide despite significant scientific and therapeutic advances. Therefore, there is a critical need to improve stroke prevention and treatment. In this review, we describe several examples that leverage nucleic acid therapeutics to improve stroke care through prevention, acute treatment, and recovery. Aptamer systems are under development to increase the safety and efficacy of antithrombotic and thrombolytic treatment, which represent the mainstay of medical stroke therapy. Antisense oligonucleotide therapy has shown some promise in treating stroke causes that are genetically determined and resistant to classic prevention approaches such as elevated lipoprotein (a) and cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL). Targeting microRNAs may be attractive because they regulate factors involved in neuronal cell death and reperfusion-associated injury, as well as neurorestorative pathways. Lastly, microRNAs may aid reliable etiologic classification of stroke subtypes, which is important for effective secondary stroke prevention.
Keywords: Neuroprotection; Nucleic acid; Prevention; Review; Stroke; Therapy.