Research Group Gertz

PD Karen Gertz, M.D.
Charité, Centrum für Schlaganfallforschung Berlin


Dr. Gertz has long-standing expertise in experimental stroke research with a focus on chronic stroke outcome. She investigates the cross-talk between post-stroke inflammation and regenerative processes including angiogenesis and neuronal plasticity. She is a board-certified neurologist (“Fachärztin für Neurologie“) and serves as a consultant neurologist in the Charité stroke service.

Gertz | List of Publications / Charité Research Data Base

Selected Publications

Exofocal dopaminergic degeneration as antidepressant target in mouse model of poststroke depression.
Kronenberg G, Balkaya M, Prinz V, Gertz K, Ji S, Kirste I, Heuser I, Kampmann B, Hellmann-Regen J, Gass P, Sohr R, Hellweg R, Waeber C, Juckel G, Hörtnagl H, Stumm R, Endres M.
Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Aug 15;72(4):273-81. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.02.026.

Essential role of interleukin-6 in post-stroke angiogenesis.
Gertz K, Kronenberg G, Kälin RE, Baldinger T, Werner C, Balkaya M, Eom GD, Hellmann-Regen J, Kröber J, Miller KR, Lindauer U, Laufs U, Dirnagl U, Heppner FL, Endres M.
Brain. 2012 Jun;135(Pt 6):1964-80. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws075.


A significant percentage of stroke patients develop depression during the first year after the event. Psychological distress linked to physical disability may promote the development of post-stroke depression (PSD). However, the higher prevalence of mood symptoms in stroke survivors as compared to orthopedic patients with the same degree of functional disability, as well as the occurrence of depression in patients with anosognosia, argue against the purely psychological causation of PSD. Depression in stroke survivors is of great clinical relevance. It often takes a chronic course and is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and a poorer functional outcome. Early antidepressant pharmacotherapy may prevent PSD. Furthermore, antidepressant treatment may promote long-term survival and exert beneficial effects on various aspects of recovery including motor recovery, activities of daily living as well as global cognitive and executive functioning.

Most Important Project

Prevent complications

Poststroke Depression

We seek to make further inroads into understanding the complex interaction between depression and brain ischemia at a mechanistic level.
More information/project description

Further Projects

Secondary midbrain changes in human patients after stroke
Building on these findings in mice, we have begun to investigate secondary midbrain changes in human patients after stroke and how these may relate to neuropsychiatric symptoms (translational clinical studies: Model Lesion & PostPsydis).

Stress and vascular risk
Building on our results within the CSB consortium, we have been able to acquire funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) to study the effects of psychosocial stress on stroke outcome (joint research grant). The proposal focuses on aging-related molecular mechanisms (mitochondrial dysfunction, telomere-related genes).

The actin cytoskeleton, aging and neurodegeneration
Pathological stabilization of the actin cytoskeleton is an important aspect of neurodegeneration and cellular senescence. Using gelsolin-deficient mice as a model system, we will investigate the effects of actin filament stabilization on vascular biology and metabolic parameters and how these may relate to acute and chronic stroke outcome.

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