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Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience


Stroke is a world-wide leading cause of death and long-term disability with concurrent secondary consequences that are largely comprised of mood dysfunction, as well as sensory, motor, and cognitive deficits. This review focuses on the cognitive deficits associated with stroke specific to executive dysfunction (including decision making, working memory, and cognitive flexibility) in humans, non-human primates, and additional animal models. Further, we review some of the cellular and molecular underpinnings of the individual components of executive dysfunction and their neuroanatomical substrates after stroke, with an emphasis on the changes that occur during biogenic monoamine neurotransmission. We concentrate primarily on changes in the catecholaminergic (dopaminergic and noradrenergic) and serotonergic systems at the levels of neurotransmitter synthesis, distribution, re-uptake, and degradation. We also discuss potential secondary stroke-related behavioral deficits (specifically, post-stroke depression as well as drug-abuse potential and addiction) and their relationship with stroke-induced deficits in executive function, an especially important consideration given that the average age of the human stroke population is decreasing. In the final sections, we address pharmacological considerations for the treatment of ischemia and the subsequent functional impairment, as well as current limitations in the field of stroke and executive function research.

Source Citation

Povroznik JM, Ozga JE, Haar CV, Engler-Chiurazzi EB. Executive (dys)function after stroke. Behavioural Pharmacology. 2018;29(7):638-653. doi:10.1097/fbp.0000000000000432