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Nat Med. 2008 Jul;14(7):731-7. doi: 10.1038/nm1787. Epub 2008 Jun 22.

Activation of PDGF-CC by tissue plasminogen activator impairs blood-brain barrier integrity during ischemic stroke.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor Michigan 48109-0644, USA.


Thrombolytic treatment of ischemic stroke with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is markedly limited owing to concerns about hemorrhagic complications and the requirement that tPA be administered within 3 h of symptoms. Here we report that tPA activation of latent platelet-derived growth factor-CC (PDGF-CC) may explain these limitations. Intraventricular injection of tPA or active PDGF-CC, in the absence of ischemia, leads to significant increases in cerebrovascular permeability. In contrast, co-injection of neutralizing antibodies to PDGF-CC with tPA blocks this increased permeability, indicating that PDGF-CC is a downstream substrate of tPA within the neurovascular unit. These effects are mediated through activation of PDGF-alpha receptors (PDGFR-alpha) on perivascular astrocytes, and treatment of mice with the PDGFR-alpha antagonist imatinib after ischemic stroke reduces both cerebrovascular permeability and hemorrhagic complications associated with late administration of thrombolytic tPA. These data demonstrate that PDGF signaling regulates blood-brain barrier permeability and suggest potential new strategies for stroke treatment.

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