Functional recovery after cerebral ischemia is mediated by the regeneration of vascular networks and the restoration of synaptic architecture. Netrins have been implicated in neuronal pathfinding and angiogenesis. In this study, we investigated the expression of Netrin-4 and its putative receptors, deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC), Unc5A, and Unc5B after distal middle cerebral artery occlusion in mice. Netrin-4 protein was also administered intracerebroventricularly to examine its effect on angiogenesis and behavioral recovery. Netrin-4 protein was highly upregulated in the ischemic core as soon as 1 day after cerebral ischemia, with subsequent downregulation after 1 week. Its expression was limited to the area of blood-brain barrier damage and was seen on both blood vessels and astrocytic foot processes. Although there was not a significant upregulation of the putative Netrin-4 receptor Unc5A and Unc5B, there was a significant increase in expression of the DCC receptor on neuronal processes in the peri-infarct cortex. Intracerebroventricular administration of Netrin-4 into the ischemic brain increased blood vessel density, endothelial proliferation, and improved behavioral recovery at 1 week after stroke, but did not have an effect on blood-brain barrier permeability or infarct size. These findings suggest that Netrin-4 may improve poststroke functional recovery by enhancing blood vessel proliferation.
View details for DOI 10.1038/jcbfm.2008.128
View details for Web of Science ID 000263119900018
View details for PubMedID 18985053