Human tissue kallikrein in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke

Michelle Alexander-Curtis, Rick Pauls, Julie Chao, John J. Volpi, Philip M. Bath, Todd A. Verdoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) remains a major cause of death and disability throughout the world. The most severe form of stroke results from large vessel occlusion of the major branches of the Circle of Willis. The treatment strategies currently available in western countries for large vessel occlusion involve rapid restoration of blood flow through removal of the offending blood clot using mechanical or pharmacological means (e.g. tissue plasma activator; tPA). This review assesses prospects for a novel pharmacological approach to enhance the availability of the natural enzyme tissue kallikrein (KLK1), an important regulator of local blood flow. KLK1 is responsible for the generation of kinins (bradykinin and kallidin), which promote local vasodilation and long-term vascularization. Moreover, KLK1 has been used clinically as a direct treatment for multiple diseases associated with impaired local blood flow including AIS. A form of human KLK1 isolated from human urine is approved in the People’s Republic of China for subacute treatment of AIS. Here we review the rationale for using KLK1 as an additional pharmacological treatment for AIS by providing the biochemical mechanism as well as the human clinical data that support this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • acute ischemic stroke
  • bradykinin
  • human tissue kallikrein
  • recombinant KLK1
  • vasodilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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