Ischemia-reperfusion injury in stroke: impact of the brain barriers and brain immune privilege on neutrophil function.

Enzmann, Gaby; Kargaran, Soghra; Engelhardt, Britta (2018). Ischemia-reperfusion injury in stroke: impact of the brain barriers and brain immune privilege on neutrophil function. Therapeutic advances in neurological disorders, 11, p. 1756286418794184. Sage 10.1177/1756286418794184

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Reperfusion injury following ischemic stroke is a complex pathophysiological process involving numerous mechanisms ranging from the release of excitatory amino acids and ion disequilibrium to the induction of apoptosis and necrosis, to oxidative stress and inflammation. The migration of neutrophils into the brain parenchyma and release of their abundant proteases are generally considered the main cause of neuronal cell death and acute reperfusion injury following ischemic stroke. Recent findings in experimental and human stroke have challenged this view, as the majority of neutrophils were rather found to accumulate within the neurovascular unit (NVU) and the subarachnoid space (SAS) where they remain separated from the brain parenchyma by the . The brain parenchyma is an immune-privileged site that is not readily accessible to immune cells and does not elicit stereotypic adaptive or innate immune responses. Understanding brain immune privilege requires intimate knowledge of its unique anatomy in which the brain barriers, that include the , establish compartments that differ remarkably with regard to their accessibility to the immune system. We here propose that the brain immune privilege also extends to an ischemic insult, where the brain parenchyma does not evoke a rapid infiltration of neutrophils as observed in ischemic events in peripheral organs. Rather, neutrophil accumulation in the NVU and SAS could have a potential impact on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage from the central nervous system (CNS) and thus on edema formation and reperfusion injury after ischemic stroke. Integrating the anatomical and functional implications of the brain immune privilege with the unquestionable role of neutrophils in reperfusion injury is a prerequisite to exploit appropriate strategies for therapeutic interventions aiming to reduce neuronal cell death after ischemic stroke.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Theodor Kocher Institute
09 Interdisciplinary Units > Microscopy Imaging Center (MIC)

UniBE Contributor:

Enzmann, Gaby and Engelhardt, Britta


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Gaby Enzmann

Date Deposited:

10 Dec 2018 15:23

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 11:34

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

brain barriers innate immunity ischemia reperfusion vascular biology




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