Stroke represents devastating pathology which is associated with a high morbidity and
mortality. Initial damage caused directly by the onset of stroke, primary injury, may be eclipsed by
secondary injury which may have a much more devastating effect on the brain. Primary injury is
predominantly associated with necrotic cell death due to fatal insufficiency of oxygen and glucose.
Secondary injury may on the contrary, lead apoptotic cell death due to structural damage which is
not compatible with cellular functions or which may even represent the danger of malign transformation.
The immune system is responsible for surveillance, defense and healing processes and the
immune system plays a major role in triggering programmed cell death. Severe pathologies, such as
stroke, are often associated with deregulation of the immune system, resulting in aggravation of
secondary brain injury. The goal of this article is to overview the current knowledge about the role
of immune system in the pathophysiology of stroke with respect to programmed neuronal cell death
as well as to discuss current therapeutic strategies targeting inflammation after stroke.
Keywords: Inflammation, stroke, necrosis, apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, autophagy.
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