Biomol Ther  
Role of Carbon Monoxide in Neurovascular Repair Processing
Yoon Kyung Choi*
Department of Integrative Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Republic of Korea
Tel: +82-2-450-0558, Fax: +82-2-444-3490
Received: July 17, 2017; Revised: August 14, 2017; Accepted: August 17, 2017; Published online: December 8, 2017.
© The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology. All rights reserved.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gaseous molecule produced from heme by heme oxygenase (HO). Endogenous CO production occurring at low concentrations is thought to have several useful biological roles. In mammals, especially humans, a proper neurovascular unit comprising endothelial cells, pericytes, astrocytes, microglia, and neurons is essential for the homeostasis and survival of the central nervous system (CNS). In addition, the regeneration of neurovascular systems from neural stem cells and endothelial precursor cells after CNS diseases is responsible for functional repair. This review focused on the possible role of CO/HO in the neurovascular unit in terms of neurogenesis, angiogenesis, and synaptic plasticity, ultimately leading to behavioral changes in CNS diseases. CO/HO may also enhance cellular networks among endothelial cells, pericytes, astrocytes, and neural stem cells. This review highlights the therapeutic effects of CO/HO on CNS diseases involved in neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and angiogenesis. Moreover, the cellular mechanisms and interactions by which CO/HO are exploited for disease prevention and their therapeutic applications in traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke are also discussed.
Keywords: Carbon monoxide, Heme oxygenase, Pericytes, Neurovascular unit, Astrocytes, Neural stem cells

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