Research Article: Increased Inflammatory Response in Old Mice is Associated with More Severe Neuronal Injury at the Acute Stage of Ischemic Stroke

Date Published: February 01, 2019

Publisher: JKL International LLC

Author(s): Fanxia Shen, Lidan Jiang, Frank Han, Vincent Degos, Shengdi Chen, Hua Su.


Stroke occurs mostly in patients with advanced age. Elderly patients have a less favorable prognosis compared with young adult patients. To understand the underlying mechanisms, we tested our hypothesis that an increased inflammatory response to acute ischemic injury in old stroke mice leads to more severe brain damage and behavioral dysfunction. An ischemic stroke model was created in 2- and 12-month-old C57BL/6 mice through permanent occlusion of the left distal middle cerebral artery (dMCAO). Infarct/atrophy volumes were quantified by staining the brain sections with Cresyl Violet. Sensorimotor function was assessed using the corner test and adhesive removal test. Quantification of CD68+ cells in the peri-infarct region was performed at 1, 3 and 14 days after dMCAO. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-1 β (IL-1β) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels in the ischemic brain tissue were measured using ELISA. Western blot was used to determine the expression levels of tight junction proteins, claudin-5 and zonula occludens (ZO)-1. Blood-brain barrier permeability was measured by Evans blue (EB) extravasation. Gelatinase B (MMP-9, type IV collagenase) was measured by gel zymography. Compared to 2-month-old mice, 12-month-old mice had more severe behavioral deficits at both the acute and chronic stages of stroke. Compared with the 2-month-old mice, 12-month-old mice had larger infarct/atrophy volumes at 1 and 14 days after dMCAO, higher levels of IL-6 and IL-1β, higher MMP9 activity, and lower levels of claudin-5 and ZO-1 at 1 and 3 days after dMCAO. 12-month-old mice also had more CD68+ cells in the peri-infarct region at 1, 3 and 14 days after dMCAO and more EB leakage at 3 days after dMCAO. A higher inflammatory response at the acute stage of ischemic stroke in old mice is associated with more severe neuronal injury and long-term behavioral dysfunction.

Partial Text

In this study, we demonstrated that neuronal damage is more severe in 12-month-old mice after ischemic stroke than in 2-month-old mice, which could be attributed to the increased number of inflammatory cells and levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. We also showed that 12-month-old mice had worse functional recovery than that of 2-month-old mice.




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