Anna-Maria Louka*, Dimitrios Sagris and George Ntaios Pages 5510 - 5521 ( 12 )
Stroke is one of the most devastating manifestations of cardiovascular disease. Growing age, arterial hypertension, and atherosclerosis are identified as independent risk factors for stroke, primarily due to structural and functional alterations in the cerebrovascular tree. Recent data from in vitro and clinical studies have suggested that the immune system influences atherosclerosis, promoting vascular stiffness and vascular aging and contributing to ischemic stroke, intracranial haemorrhage and microbleeds, white matter disease, and cognitive decline. Furthermore, aging is related to a chronic low-grade inflammatory state, in which macrophage, neutrophils, natural killer (NK cells), and B and T lymphocytes act as major effectors of the immune-mediated cell responses. Moreover, oxidative stress and vascular inflammation are correlated with endothelial dysfunction, vascular aging, blood-brain barrier disruption, lacunar lesions, and neurodegenerative disorders. This review discusses the pathophysiological roles of fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms of aging, including the complex interplay between them and innate immunity, as well as vascular dysfunction, arterial stiffness, atherosclerosis, atherothrombosis, systemic inflammation, and blood-brain barrier dysfunction.
Innate immunity, stroke, vascular aging, vascular dysfunction, cardiovascular risk factors, blood-brain barrier.