Serine protease inhibitors: novel therapeutic targets for stroke?
Auteur : Vivien D, Buisson A
Année : 2000
Journal : J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 0271-678X
PubMed Id : 10826525
Although the thrombolytic activity of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) may be beneficial in the acute treatment of stroke, recent studies have suggested that this serine protease could also play a critical role in determining the extent of neuronal death after injury to the central nervous system (CNS). This hypothesis is based on several experimental results: t-PA-deficient mice are resistant to excitotoxic neuronal death induced by the intrahippocampal injection of kainate; the infarct volume induced by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery is reduced in t-PA knockout mice; and the intravenous injection of t-PA can under certain circumstances potentiate the infarct volume in animals subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion. In the CNS, the serine proteases have been identified to occur both in neurons and glial cells. Their enzymatic activity regulates the balance between the accumulation and the degradation of the extracellular matrix. They are involved in many physiologic functions, ranging from synaptic outgrowth during perinatal development to plasticity in adults. For instance, thrombin and t-PA are known to modulate neurite outgrowth and tissue remodeling in the early stages of development. In the adult brain, t-PA may contribute to the late phase of long-term potentiation and to the subsequent synaptic growth in the hippocampal mossy fiber pathway. This balance between the degradation and accumulation of the extracellular matrix may also be integral to various pathologic processes involved in acute brain injury. For example, compounds that modulate the activity of serine proteases exhibit neuroprotective activity. Based on the above, numerous studies have focused on the production and modulation of the endogenously produced serine protease inhibitors, termed serpins, such as type 1 plasminogen activator inhibitor, neuroserpin, and protease nexin-1. In the present review, we will discuss the need to distinguish between the potentially neurotoxic effects of t-PA and its beneficial effect on reperfusion. We will present data supporting the idea that the modulation of serine protease activity may represent a novel and efficient strategy for the treatment of acute cerebral injury in humans.