Author(s): Broughton BR, Reutens DC, Sobey CG
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Traditionally, cell death after cerebral ischemia was considered to be exclusively necrotic in nature, but research over the past decade has revealed that after a stroke, many neurons in the ischemic penumbra will undergo apoptosis. SUMMARY OF REVIEW: This brief review provides a general overview and update of various signaling pathways in the development of apoptosis in ischemic lesions. Cerebral ischemia triggers two general pathways of apoptosis: the intrinsic pathway, originating from mitochondrial release of cytochrome c and associated stimulation of caspase-3; and the extrinsic pathway, originating from the activation of cell surface death receptors, resulting in the stimulation of caspase-8. Although many of the key apoptotic proteins have been identified, our understanding of the complex underlying mechanisms remains poor and hence treatment of stroke patients by manipulating apoptotic pathways remains a daunting task. However, recent advances in the field have helped broaden our knowledge of apoptosis after cerebral ischemia. Further to the simplistic concept that stroke-induced apoptosis occurs predominantly in neurons and is caspase-dependent, accumulating evidence now indicates that apoptosis is prevalent in nonneuronal cells and that caspase-independent mechanisms also play a key role. CONCLUSIONS: Although the ischemic penumbra is under threat of infarction, it is potentially salvageable and thus represents an opportunity for therapeutic intervention.
This article was published in Stroke
and referenced in Advancements in Genetic Engineering