Pathophysiology of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome

Shih Pin Chen*, Shuu Jiun Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) is a complex neurovascular disorder being recognized during the past two decades. It is characterized by multiple abrupt severe headaches and widespread cerebral vasoconstrictions, with potential complications such as ischemic stroke, convexity subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage and posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome. The clinical features, imaging findings, and dynamic disease course have been delineated. However, the pathophysiology of RCVS remains elusive. Recent studies have had substantial progress in elucidating its pathogenesis. It is now believed that dysfunction of cerebral vascular tone and impairment of blood–brain barrier may play key roles in the pathophysiology of RCVS, which explains some of the clinical and radiological manifestations of RCVS. Some other potentially important elements include genetic predisposition, sympathetic overactivity, endothelial dysfunction, and oxidative stress, although the detailed molecular mechanisms are yet to be identified. In this review, we will summarize what have been revealed in the literature and elaborate how these factors could contribute to the pathophysiology of RCVS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Blood–brain barrier
  • Neurovascular unit
  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome
  • Thunderclap headache


Dive into the research topics of 'Pathophysiology of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this