•Zebrafish brain vascular rupture and repair system is established
•Live imaging reveals the dynamic cellular events of brain vascular repair
•Macrophages mediate brain vascular repair through adhesion and mechanical traction
•Macrophage-mediated brain vascular repair requires PI3K and Rac1 activity
Hemorrhagic stroke and brain microbleeds are caused by cerebrovascular ruptures. Fast repair of such ruptures is the most promising therapeutic approach. Due to a lack of high-resolution in vivo real-time studies, the dynamic cellular events involved in cerebrovascular repair remain unknown. Here, we have developed a cerebrovascular rupture system in zebrafish by using multi-photon laser, which generates a lesion with two endothelial ends. In vivo time-lapse imaging showed that a macrophage arrived at the lesion and extended filopodia or lamellipodia to physically adhere to both endothelial ends. This macrophage generated mechanical traction forces to pull the endothelial ends and facilitate their ligation, thus mediating the repair of the rupture. Both depolymerization of microfilaments and inhibition of phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase or Rac1 activity disrupted macrophage-endothelial adhesion and impaired cerebrovascular repair. Our study reveals a hitherto unexpected role for macrophages in mediating repair of cerebrovascular ruptures through direct physical adhesion and mechanical traction.