Oxidative stress is known to contribute to the progression of cerebrovascular disease. Additionally, oxidative
stress may be increased by, but also augment inflammation, a key contributor to cerebral aneurysm development and
rupture. Oxidative stress can induce important processes leading to cerebral aneurysm formation including direct
endothelial injury as well as smooth muscle cell phenotypic switching to an inflammatory phenotype and ultimately
apoptosis. Oxidative stress leads to recruitment and invasion of inflammatory cells through upregulation of chemotactic
cytokines and adhesion molecules. Matrix metalloproteinases can be activated by free radicals leading to vessel wall
remodeling and breakdown. Free radicals mediate lipid peroxidation leading to atherosclerosis and contribute to
hemodynamic stress and hypertensive pathology, all integral elements of cerebral aneurysm development. Preliminary
studies suggest that therapies targeted at oxidative stress may provide a future beneficial treatment for cerebral aneurysms,
but further studies are indicated to define the role of free radicals in cerebral aneurysm formation and rupture. The goal of
this review is to assess the role of oxidative stress in cerebral aneurysm pathogenesis.
Keywords: Aneurysm, inflammation, oxidative stress, NADPH oxidase, reactive oxygen species, subarachnoid hemorrhage.
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