Tissue plasminogen activator prevents white matter damage following stroke

Fernando Correa, Maxime Gauberti, Jérôme Parcq, Richard Macrez, Yannick Hommet, Pauline Obiang, Miriam Hernangómez, Axel Montagne, Géraldine Liot, Carmen Guaza, Eric Maubert, Carine Ali, Denis Vivien, Fabian Docagne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only available treatment for acute stroke. In addition to its vascular fibrinolytic action, tPA exerts various effects within the brain, ranging from synaptic plasticity to control of cell fate. To date, the influence of tPA in the ischemic brain has only been investigated on neuronal, microglial, and endothelial fate. We addressed the mechanism of action of tPA on oligodendrocyte (OL) survival and on the extent of white matter lesions in stroke. We also investigated the impact of aging on these processes. We observed that, in parallel to reduced levels of tPA in OLs, white matter gets more susceptible to ischemia in old mice. Interestingly, tPA protects murine and human OLs from apoptosis through an unexpected cytokine-like effect by the virtue of its epidermal growth factor-like domain. When injected into aged animals, tPA, although toxic to the gray matter, rescues white matter from ischemia independently of its proteolytic activity. These studies reveal a novel mechanism of action of tPA and unveil OL as a target cell for cytokine effects of tPA in brain diseases. They show overall that tPA protects white matter from stroke-induced lesions, an effect which may contribute to the global benefit of tPA-based stroke treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-42
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2011


  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Brain/pathology
  • Brain Injuries/pathology
  • Caspase 3/metabolism
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cytokines/metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular/cytology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor/chemistry
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligodendroglia/cytology
  • Stroke/pathology
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator/metabolism


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