Stroke research at a crossroad: Asking the brain for directions Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Brain
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Stroke


  • Ischemic stroke remains a vexing public health problem. Although progress has been made in prevention and supportive care, efforts to protect the brain from ischemic cell death have failed. Thus, no new treatment has made it from bench to bedside since tissue plasminogen activator was introduced in 1996. The brain has a remarkable capacity for self-preservation, illustrated by the protective responses induced by ischemia, preconditioning and exercise. Here we describe the mechanisms underlying brain self-protection, with the goal of identifying features that could provide insight into stroke therapy. Unlike traditional therapeutic approaches based on counteracting selected pathways of the ischemic cascade, endogenous neuroprotection relies on coordinated neurovascular programs that support cerebral perfusion, mitigate the harmful effects of cerebral ischemia and promote tissue restoration. Learning how the brain triggers and implements these protective measures may advance our quest to treat stroke.

publication date

  • November 2011



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC3633153

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nn.2953

PubMed ID

  • 22030546

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1363

end page

  • 8


  • 14


  • 11