Brain infarction causes tissue death by ischemia due to occlusion of the cerebral vessels and recent work has shown that post stroke inflammation contributes significantly to the development of ischemic pathology. Because secondary damage by brain inflammation may have a longer therapeutic time window compared to the rescue of primary damage following arterial occlusion, controlling inflammation would be an obvious therapeutic target. A substantial amount of experimentall progress in this area has been made in recent years. However, it is difficult to elucidate the precise mechanisms of the inflammatory responses following ischemic stroke because inflammation is a complex series of interactions between inflammatory cells and molecules, all of which could be either detrimental or beneficial. We review recent advances in neuroinflammation and the modulation of inflammatory signaling pathways in brain ischemia. Potential targets for treatment of ischemic stroke will also be covered. The roles of the immune system and brain damage versus repair will help to clarify how immune modulation may treat stroke.
Keywords: Brain ischemia, inflammation, neuroprotection, stroke.