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Curr Opin Neurol. 2008 Jun;21(3):353-7. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e3282ffafbf.

Role of inflammatory markers in brain ischemia.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Hospital Clínico Universitario, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.



Inflammatory mechanisms play an important role in the risk of stroke and during the acute phase of brain ischemia, which contributes to functional outcome of patients. We review the role of inflammatory markers in these aspects of brain ischemia.


Systemic inflammatory mechanisms are associated with higher risk of stroke and vascular recurrences after a first ischemic stroke. Several inflammatory molecules are implicated during the acute phase of ischemic stroke, such as cytokines (interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha), adhesion cell molecules (vascular cell adhesion molecule type 1, intercellular adhesion molecule type 1) and metalloproteinases. Metalloproteinases and vascular cell adhesion molecule levels are useful in the diagnosis of ischemic stroke. Inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and adhesion cell molecules are related to the presence of early neurological deterioration and infarct volume. Finally, metalloproteinases play an important role in the development of hemorrhagic transformation.


Molecular markers of inflammation can be useful tools for the management of patients with ischemic stroke, both during the acute phase and to predict prognosis and prevent the risk of a new vascular event.

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