The human cerebrovascular system is responsible for maintaining neural function through oxygenation, nutrient supply, filtration of toxins, and additional specialized tasks. While the cerebrovascular system has resilience imparted by elaborate redundant collateral circulation from supportive tertiary structures, it is not infallible, and is susceptible to developing structural vascular abnormalities. The causes of this class of structural cerebrovascular diseases can be broadly categorized as 1) intrinsic developmental diseases resulting from genetic or other underlying aberrations (arteriovenous malformations and cavernous malformations) or 2) extrinsic acquired diseases that cause compensatory mechanisms to drive vascular remodeling (aneurysms and arteriovenous fistulae). Cerebrovascular diseases of both types pose significant risks to patients, in some cases leading to death or disability. The drivers of such diseases are extensive, yet inflammation is intimately tied to all of their progressions. Central to this inflammatory hypothesis is the role of peripheral macrophages; targeting this critical cell type may lead to diagnostic and therapeutic advancement in this area. Here, we comprehensively review the role that peripheral macrophages play in cerebrovascular pathogenesis, provide a schema through which macrophage behavior can be understood in cerebrovascular pathologies, and describe emerging diagnostic and therapeutic avenues in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-191
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • AVF
  • AVM
  • Macrophage
  • aneurysm
  • cavernous malformation


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