Post-ischemic stroke systemic inflammation: Immunomodulation by progesterone and vitamin D hormone.
Neuropharmacology. 2020 12 15 ;181:108327. Epub 2020 Sep 18. PMID: 32950558
Post-stroke systemic inflammation, due to the injury itself and exacerbated by in-hospital infections, can increase morbidity and mortality in stroke patients. In this study, we examined the immunomodulatory effects of progesterone (P4) alone and in combination with vitamin D hormone (VDH) on acute phase post-stroke peripheral immune dysfunction and functional/behavioral deficits. Adult rats underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion/reperfusion (tMCAO) and delayed systemic inflammation was induced by injections of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) beginning 24 h post-stroke. Animals were tested for behavioral outcomes and immune function at day 4 post-stroke. We also measured infarction volume and markers of neuronal inflammation (GFAP, IL-6) and apoptosis (cleaved caspase-3) in brain post-stroke. We observed the worst stroke outcomes in the stroke + systemic inflammation group compared to the stroke-alone group. Flow cytometric analysis of different subsets of immune cells in blood, spleen and thymus revealed peripheral immune dysfunction which was restored by both P4 and VDH monotherapy. P4 monotherapy reduced infarction volume, behavioral/functional deficits, peripheral immune dysfunction, neuronal inflammation, and apoptosis induced by post-stroke systemic inflammation. Combination treatment with P4+VDH improved outcomes better than monotherapy. Our findings can be taken to suggest that the current standard of care for stroke and post-stroke infection can be substantially improved by P4 and VDH combination therapy.