Reduced risk and severity of stroke in adult females is thought to depend on normal endogenous levels of estrogen, a well-known neuroprotectant and immunomodulator. In male mice, experimental stroke induces immunosuppression of the peripheral immune system, characterized by a reduction in spleen size and cell numbers and decreased cytokine and chemokine expression. However, stroke-induced immunosuppression has not been evaluated in female mice. To test the hypothesis that estradiol (E2) deficiency exacerbates immunosuppression after focal stroke in females, we evaluated the effect of middle cerebral artery occlusion on infarct size and peripheral and CNS immune responses in ovariectomized mice with or without sustained, controlled levels of 17-β-E2 administered by s.c. implant or the putative membrane estrogen receptor agonist, G1. Both E2- and G1-replacement decreased infarct volume and partially restored splenocyte numbers. Moreover, E2-replacement increased splenocyte proliferation in response to stimulation with anti-CD3/CD28 Abs and normalized aberrant mRNA expression for cytokines, chemokines, and chemokine receptors and percentage of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T regulatory cells observed in E2-deficient animals. These beneficial changes in peripheral immunity after E2 replacement were accompanied by a profound reduction in expression of the chemokine, MIP-2, and a 40-fold increased expression of CCR7 in the lesioned brain hemisphere. These results demonstrate for the first time that E2 replacement in ovariectomized female mice improves stroke-induced peripheral immunosuppression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy