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Yale J Biol Med. 2012 Dec;85(4):523-39. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Age and the metabolic syndrome as risk factors for ischemic stroke: improving preclinical models of ischemic stroke.

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Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506-9183, USA.


Ischemic stroke represents a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the developed world. This disabling and sometimes fatal event puts an ever increasing burden on the family members and medical professionals who care for stroke victims. Preclinical ischemic stroke research has predominantly utilized young adult, healthy animals, a clear discrepancy when considering the clinical population affected by stroke. A broad spectrum of risk factors such as age, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension has been associated with an increased stroke risk. The effect of these comorbidities on both stroke pathophysiology and outcome has not been emphasized and has been recognized as a shortcoming of preclinical studies. By addressing these conditions in experimental models of ischemic stroke, it may be possible to more accurately represent the clinical scenario and improve therapeutic translation from bench-to-bedside. In this work, we review many of the risk factors associated with increased stroke risk, particularly as each risk factor relates to inflammation. Additionally, we explore potential animal models that could be utilized in identifying the contribution of these risk factors to stroke outcome. By investigating the risk factors for stroke and how these may alter stroke pathophysiology, the present discrepancies between preclinical studies and the clinical reality can be reconciled in an effort to improve therapeutic development and translation from bench-to-bedside.


age; animal models; diabetes; hypertension; inflammation; ischemic stroke; metabolic syndrome; obesity

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