Ischemic stroke is the second cause of mortality and the first cause of long-term disability constituting a serious socioeconomic burden worldwide. Approved treatments include thrombectomy and rtPA intravenous administration, which, despite their efficacy in some cases, are not suitable for a great proportion of patients. Glial cell-related therapies are progressively overcoming inefficient neuron-centered approaches in the preclinical phase. Exploiting the ability of microglia to naturally switch between detrimental and protective phenotypes represents a promising therapeutic treatment, in a similar way to what happens with astrocytes. However, the duality present in many of the roles of these cells upon ischemia poses a notorious difficulty in disentangling the precise pathways to target. Still, promoting M2/A2 microglia/astrocyte protective phenotypes and inhibiting M1/A1 neurotoxic profiles is globally rendering promising results in different in vivo models of stroke. On the other hand, described oligodendrogenesis after brain ischemia seems to be strictly beneficial, although these cells are the less studied players in the stroke paradigm and negative effects could be described for oligodendrocytes in the next years. Here, we review recent advances in understanding the precise role of mentioned glial cell types in the main pathological events of ischemic stroke, including inflammation, blood brain barrier integrity, excitotoxicity, reactive oxygen species management, metabolic support, and neurogenesis, among others, with a special attention to tested therapeutic approaches.
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