High mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) is a nuclear protein that is expressed in almost all eukaryotic
cells. In the nucleus, it maintains nuclear homeostasis and promotes gene transcription.
HMGB1 can be passively released into the extracellular milieu after cell necrosis or actively secreted
by activated immune cells. HMGB1 has several receptors such as Toll-like receptor 2, Toll-like receptor
4, and the receptor for advanced glycation end products. After brain injury, HMGB1 is released
early from neural cells and contributes to the initial stages of the inflammatory response. However,
surprisingly, HMGB1 can mediate beneficial effects during the course of stroke recovery. The biphasic
biological property of extracellular HMGB1 may be related to the redox modifications of its cysteine
residues. This review discusses the emerging roles of HMGB1 in several stroke models, as well as its
potential role as a therapeutic target for stroke patients.
Keywords: Cerebral ischemia, HMGB1, ICH, inflammation, RAGE, redox modification, SAH, stroke recovery, TLR4.
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