Chronic stress induced disruption of the peri-infarct neurovascular unit following experimentally induced photothrombotic stroke

Zidan Zhao, Lin Kooi Ong, Sarah Johnson, Michael Nilsson, Frederick R. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


How stress influences brain repair is an issue of considerable importance, as patients recovering from stroke are known to experience high and often unremitting levels of stress post-event. In the current study, we investigated how chronic stress modified the key cellular components of the neurovascular unit. Using an experimental model of focal cortical ischemia in male C57BL/6 mice, we examined how exposure to a persistently aversive environment, induced by the application of chronic restraint stress, altered the cortical remodeling post-stroke. We focused on systematically investigating changes in the key components of the neurovascular unit (i.e. neurons, microglia, astrocytes, and blood vessels) within the peri-infarct territories using both immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. The results from our study indicated that exposure to chronic stress exerted a significant suppressive effect on each of the key cellular components involved in neurovascular remodeling. Co-incident with these cellular changes, we observed that chronic stress was associated with an exacerbation of motor impairment 42 days post-event. Collectively, these results highlight the vulnerability of the peri-infarct neurovascular unit to the negative effects of chronic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3709-3724
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic stress
  • glial cells
  • neuroinflammation
  • neurovascular unit
  • Stroke

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