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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 152-162

Occludin regulation of blood–brain barrier and potential therapeutic target in ischemic stroke

1 Department of Research Laboratory in Brain Injury and Protection, Cerebrovascular Diseases Research Institute, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
2 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Correspondence Address:
Zhifeng Qi
Cerebrovascular Diseases Research Institute, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, Beijing
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bc.bc_29_20

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Occludin is a key structural component of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) that has recently become an important focus of research in BBB damages. Many studies have demonstrated that occludin could regulate the integrity and permeability of the BBB. The function of BBB depends on the level of occludin protein expression in brain endothelial cells. Moreover, occludin may serve as a potential biomarker for hemorrhage transformation after acute ischemic stroke. In this review, we summarize the role of occludin in BBB integrity and the regulatory mechanisms of occludin in the permeability of BBB after ischemic stroke. Multiple factors have been found to regulate occludin protein functions in maintaining BBB permeability, such as Matrix metalloproteinas-mediated cleavage, phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and related inflammatory factors. In addition, various signaling pathways participate in regulating the occludin expression, including nuclear factor-kappa B, mitogen-activated protein kinase, protein kinase c, RhoK, and ERK1/2. Emerging therapeutic interventions for ischemic stroke targeting occludin are described, including normobaric hyperoxia, Chinese medicine, chemical drugs, genes, steroid hormones, small molecular peptides, and other therapies. Since occludin has been shown to play a critical role in regulating BBB integrity, further preclinical studies will help evaluate and validate occludin as a viable therapeutic target for ischemic stroke.

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