The transplantation of exogenous stem cells and the activation of endogenous neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) are promising treatments for stroke. These cells can modulate intrinsic responses to ischemic injury and may even integrate directly into damaged neural networks. However, the neuroprotective and neural regenerative effects that can be mediated by these cells are limited and may even be deleterious. Epigenetic reprogramming represents a novel strategy for enhancing the intrinsic potential of the brain to protect and repair itself by modulating pathologic neural gene expression and promoting the recapitulation of seminal neural developmental processes. In fact, recent evidence suggests that emerging epigenetic mechanisms are critical for orchestrating nearly every aspect of neural development and homeostasis, including brain patterning, neural stem cell maintenance, neurogenesis and gliogenesis, neural subtype specification, and synaptic and neural network connectivity and plasticity. In this review, we survey the therapeutic potential of exogenous stem cells and endogenous NSPCs and highlight innovative technological approaches for designing, developing, and delivering epigenetic therapies for targeted reprogramming of endogenous pools of NSPCs, neural cells at risk, and dysfunctional neural networks to rescue and restore neurologic function in the ischemic brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Neurology