Systems neuroprotective mechanisms in ischemic stroke

Shu Q. Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ischemic stroke, although causing brain infarction and neurological deficits, can activate innate neuroprotective mechanisms, including regional mechanisms within the ischemic brain and distant mechanisms from non-ischemic organs such as the liver, spleen, and pancreas, supporting neuronal survival, confining brain infarction, and alleviating neurological deficits. Both regional and distant mechanisms are defined as systems neuroprotective mechanisms. The regional neuroprotective mechanisms involve release and activation of neuroprotective factors such as adenosine and bradykinin, inflammatory responses, expression of growth factors such as nerve growth factors and neurotrophins, and activation and differentiation of resident neural stem cells to neurons and glial cells. The distant neuroprotective mechanisms are implemented by expression and release of endocrine neuroprotective factors such as fibroblast growth factor 21, resistin like molecule γ, and trefoil factor 3 from the liver; brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor from the spleen; and neurotrophin 3 and vascular endothelial growth factor C from the pancreas. Furthermore, ischemic stroke induces mobilization of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells into the circulatory system and brain, contributing to neuroprotection. The regional and distant mechanisms may act in coordination and synergy to protect the ischemic brain from injury and death. This paper addresses these mechanisms and associated signaling networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalMCB Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cell survival signaling mechanisms
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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