Roles of Blood-Brain Barrier Integrins and Extracellular Matrix in Stroke


Ischemicstroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States, but recent advances in treatments [i.e., endovascular thrombectomy and tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA)] that target the stroke-causing blood clot, while improving overall stroke mortality rates, have had much less of an impact on overall stroke morbidity. This may in part be attributed to the lack of therapeutics targeting reperfusion-induced injury after the blood clot has been removed, which, if left unchecked, can expand injury from its core into the surrounding at risk tissue (penumbra). This occurs in two phases of increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier, a physical barrier that under physiologic conditions regulates brain influx and efflux of substances and consists of tight junction forming endothelial cells (and transporter proteins), astrocytes, pericytes, extracellular matrix, and their integrin cellular receptors. During, embryonic development, maturity, and following stroke reperfusion, cerebral vasculature undergoes significant changes including changes in expression of integrins and degradation of surrounding extracellular matrix. Integrins, heterodimers with α and β subunits, and their extracellular matrix ligands, a collection of proteoglycans, glycoproteins, and collagens, have been modestly studied in the context of stroke compared with other diseases (e.g., cancer). In this review, we describe the effect that various integrins and extracellular matrix components have in embryonic brain development, and how this changes in both maturity and in the poststroke environment. Particular focus will be on how these changes in integrins and the extracellular matrix affect blood-brain barrier components and their potential as diagnostic and therapeutic targets for ischemic stroke.

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Published in American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology, v. 316, issue 2.

Copyright © 2019 the American Physiological Society

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