Review article

Pharmacological approaches promoting stem cellbased therapy following ischemic stroke insults

Authors: Shu-zhen ZHU1,2,3, Vivian SZETO1, Mei-hua BAO1,2, Hong-shuo SUN1,2, Zhong-ping FENG1
1 Departments of Physiology Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8
2 Departments of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
3 Department of Neurology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510282, China
Corresponding to: Hong-shuo SUN:, Zhong-ping FENG:,
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2018.23
Received: 21 December 2017
Accepted: 13 March 2018


Stroke can lead to long-term neurological deficits. Adult neurogenesis, the continuous generation of newborn neurons in distinct regions of the brain throughout life, has been considered as one of the appoaches to restore the neurological function following ischemic stroke. However, ischemia-induced spontaneous neurogenesis is not suffcient, thus cell-based therapy, including infusing exogenous stem cells or stimulating endogenous stem cells to help repair of injured brain, has been studied in numerous animal experiments and some pilot clinical trials. While the effects of cell-based therapy on neurological function during recovery remains unproven in randomized controlled trials, pharmacological agents have been administrated to assist the cell-based therapy. In this review, we summarized the limitations of ischemia-induced neurogenesis and stem-cell transplantation, as well as the potential proneuroregenerative effects of drugs that may enhance efficacy of cell-based therapies. Specifically, we discussed drugs that enhance proliferation, migration, differentiation, survival and function connectivity of newborn neurons, which may restore neurobehavioral function and improve outcomes in stroke patients.
Keywords: stroke; neurobehavioral function; neurogenesis; cell-based therapy; stem-cell transplantation; granulocyte colonystimulating factor (GCSF); herbal medicine