In the past decade, evidence has emerged that there is a variety of bidirectional cell-cell and/or cellextracellular matrix interactions within the neurovascular unit (NVU), which is composed of neuronal, glial, and vascular cells along with extracellular matrix. Many central nervous system diseases, which lead to NVU dysfunction, have common features such as glial activation/transformation and vascular/blood-brain-barrier alteration. These phenomena show dual opposite roles, harmful at acute phase and beneficial at chronic phase. This diverse heterogeneity may induce biphasic clinical courses, i.e. degenerative and regenerative processes in the context of dynamically coordinated cellcell/ cell-matrix interactions in the NVU. A deeper understanding of the seemingly contradictory actions in cellular levels is essential for NVU protection or regeneration to suppress the deleterious inflammatory reactions and promote adaptive remodeling after central nervous system injury. This mini-review will present an overview of recent progress in the biphasic roles of the NVU and discuss the clinical relevance of NVU responses associated with central nervous system diseases, such as stroke and other chronic neurodegenerative diseases.