Cerebrovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in Japan and most Western countries. Gene transfer techniques may be applicable to the treatment of serious types of stroke, since several experimental studies have revealed the usefulness of gene therapy in the protection of neurons, reduction of infarct size and improvement of function. Prevention of vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage is one of the best candidates for vascular gene therapy. Ischemia-induced apoptosis, inflammation, and derangement of neurovascular units can be targeted by the gene transfer approach. Recent studies have shown that promotion of neurogenesis and functional recovery may also be achieved by this strategy. Furthermore, a combination of stem cell therapy with gene transfer methods may be feasible. This review describes novel approaches for the treatment of stroke using gene transfer techniques.
Keywords: Gene transfer, gene therapy, vector, brain, ischemia, stroke, neurogenesis, stem cell
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