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Journal of neuroinflammation

Dynamics of major histocompatibility complex class II-positive cells in the postischemic brain--influence of levodopa treatment.


PMID 25178113

Abstract

Cerebral ischemia activates both the innate and the adaptive immune response, the latter being activated within days after the stroke onset and triggered by the recognition of foreign antigens. In this study we have investigated the phenotype of antigen presenting cells and the levels of associated major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) molecules in the postischemic brain after transient occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (tMCAO) followed by levodopa/benserazide treatment. Male Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to tMCAO for 105 minutes and received levodopa (20 mg/kg)/benserazide (15 mg/kg) for 5 days starting on day 2 after tMCAO. Thereafter, immune cells were isolated from the ischemic and contralateral hemisphere and analyzed by flow cytometry. Complementarily, the spatiotemporal profile of MHC II-positive (MHC II(+)) cells was studied in the ischemic brain during the first 30 days after tMCAO; protein levels of MHC II and the levels of inflammation associated cytokines were determined in the ischemic hemisphere. We found that microglia/macrophages represent the main MHC II expressing cell in the postischemic brain one week after tMCAO. No differences in absolute cell numbers were found between levodopa/benserazide and vehicle-treated animals. In contrast, MHC II protein levels were significant downregulated in the ischemic infarct core by levodopa/benserazide treatment. This reduction was accompanied by reduced levels of IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-4 in the ischemic hemisphere. In the contralateral hemisphere, we exclusively detected MHC II(+) cells in the corpus callosum. Interestingly, the number of cells was increased by treatment with levodopa/benserazide independent from the infarct size 14 days after tMCAO. Results suggest that dopamine signaling is involved in the adaptive immune response after stroke and involves microglia/macrophages.