Roadmap for stroke: Challenging the role of the neuronal extracellular matrix

Ciro De Luca, Assunta Virtuoso, Nicola Maggio, Sara Izzo, Michele Papa*, Anna Maria Colangelo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Stroke is a major challenge in modern medicine and understanding the role of the neuronal extracellular matrix (NECM) in its pathophysiology is fundamental for promoting brain repair. Currently, stroke research is focused on the neurovascular unit (NVU). Impairment of the NVU leads to neuronal loss through post-ischemic and reperfusion injuries, as well as coagulatory and inflammatory processes. The ictal core is produced in a few minutes by the high metabolic demand of the central nervous system. Uncontrolled or prolonged inflammatory response is characterized by leukocyte infiltration of the injured site that is limited by astroglial reaction. The metabolic failure reshapes the NECM through matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and novel deposition of structural proteins continues within months of the acute event. These maladaptive reparative processes are responsible for the neurological clinical phenotype. In this review, we aim to provide a systems biology approach to stroke pathophysiology, relating the injury to the NVU with the pervasive metabolic failure, inflammatory response and modifications of the NECM. The available data will be used to build a protein–protein interaction (PPI) map starting with 38 proteins involved in stroke pathophysiology, taking into account the timeline of damage and the co-expression scores of their RNA patterns The application of the proposed network could lead to a more accurate design of translational experiments aiming at improving both the therapy and the rehabilitation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7554
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • Maladaptive plasticity
  • Matrix metalloproteinases
  • Neuronal extracellular matrix
  • Neurovascular unit
  • Stroke
  • Systems biology


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