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Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism


Plasminogen is involved in the process of angiogenesis; however, the underlying mechanism is unclear. Here, we investigated the potential contribution of plasmin/plasminogen in mediating angiogenesis and thereby contributing to functional recovery post-stroke. Wild-type plasminogen naive (Plg(+/+)) mice and plasminogen knockout (Plg(-/-)) mice were subjected to unilateral permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Blood vessels were labeled with FITC-dextran. Functional outcomes, and cerebral vessel density were compared between Plg(+/+) and Plg(-/-) mice at different time points after stroke. We found that Plg(-/-) mice exhibited significantly reduced functional recovery, associated with significantly decreased vessel density in the peri-infarct area in the ipsilesional cortex compared with Plg(+/+) mice. In vitro, cerebral endothelial cells harvested from Plg(-/-) mice exhibited significantly reduced angiogenesis assessed using tube formation assay, and migration, as evaluated using Scratch assays, compared to endothelial cells harvested from Plg(+/+) mice. In addition, using Western blots, expression of thrombospondin (TSP)-1 and TSP-2 were increased after MCAo in the Plg(-/-) group compared to Plg(+/+) mice, especially in the ipsilesional side of brain. Taken together, our data suggest that plasmin/plasminogen down-regulates the expression level of TSP-1 and TSP-2, and thereby promotes angiogenesis in the peri-ischemic brain tissue, which contributes to functional recovery after ischemic stroke.

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ePub ahead of print

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