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Brain Circ. 2018 Jul-Sep;4(3):84-94. doi: 10.4103/bc.bc_14_18. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Mitochondrial targeting as a novel therapy for stroke.

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Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA.
Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.


Stroke is a main cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Despite the increasing development of innovative treatments for stroke, most are unsuccessful in clinical trials. In recent years, an encouraging strategy for stroke therapy has been identified in stem cells transplantation. In particular, grafting cells and their secretion products are leading with functional recovery in stroke patients by promoting the growth and function of the neurovascular unit - a communication framework between neurons, their supply microvessels along with glial cells - underlying stroke pathology and recovery. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been recently recognized as a hallmark in ischemia/reperfusion neural damage. Emerging evidence of mitochondria transfer from stem cells to ischemic-injured cells points to transfer of healthy mitochondria as a viable novel therapeutic strategy for ischemic diseases. Hence, a more in-depth understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in mitochondrial impairment may lead to new tools for stroke treatment. In this review, we focus on the current evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in stroke, investigating favorable approaches of healthy mitochondria transfer in ischemic neurons, and exploring the potential of mitochondria-based cellular therapy for clinical applications. This paper is a review article. Referred literature in this paper has been listed in the references section. The data sets supporting the conclusions of this article are available online by searching various databases, including PubMed.


Bioenergetics; blood–brain barrier; cerebral ischemia; endothelial cells; impaired mitochondria; neurovascular unit; regenerative medicine; stem cell therapy; transfer of healthy mitochondria; vasculature

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