CCL2 upregulation triggers hypoxic preconditioning-induced protection from stroke

Ann M. Stowe, Bradley K. Wacker, Petra D. Cravens, Jennifer L. Perfater, Min K. Li, Ruilong Hu, Angela B. Freie, Olaf Stüve, Jeffrey M. Gidday

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72 Citations (SciVal)


Background: A brief exposure to systemic hypoxia (i.e., hypoxic preconditioning; HPC) prior to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAo) reduces infarct volume, blood-brain barrier disruption, and leukocyte migration. CCL2 (MCP-1), typically regarded as a leukocyte-derived pro-inflammatory chemokine, can also be directly upregulated by hypoxia-induced transcription. We hypothesized that such a hypoxia-induced upregulation of CCL2 is required for HPC-induced ischemic tolerance.Methods: Adult male SW/ND4, CCL2-null, and wild-type mice were used in these studies. Cortical CCL2/CCR2 message, protein, and cell-type specific immunoreactivity were determined following HPC (4 h, 8% O2) or room air control (21% O2) from 6 h through 2 weeks following HPC. Circulating leukocyte subsets were determined by multi-parameter flow cytometry in naïve mice and 12 h after HPC. CCL2-null and wild-type mice were exposed to HPC 2 days prior to tMCAo, with immunoneutralization of CCL2 during HPC achieved by a monoclonal CCL2 antibody.Results: Cortical CCL2 mRNA and protein expression peaked at 12 h after HPC (both p < 0.01), predominantly in cortical neurons, and returned to baseline by 2 days. A delayed cerebral endothelial CCL2 message expression (p < 0.05) occurred 2 days after HPC. The levels of circulating monocytes (p < 0.0001), T lymphocytes (p < 0.0001), and granulocytes were decreased 12 h after HPC, and those of B lymphocytes were increased (p < 0.0001), but the magnitude of these respective changes did not differ between wild-type and CCL2-null mice. HPC did decrease the number of circulating CCR2+ monocytes (p < 0.0001) in a CCL2-dependent manner, but immunohistochemical analyses at this 12 h timepoint indicated that this leukocyte subpopulation did not move into the CNS. While HPC reduced infarct volumes by 27% (p < 0.01) in wild-type mice, CCL2-null mice subjected to tMCAo were not protected by HPC. Moreover, administration of a CCL2 immunoneutralizing antibody prior to HPC completely blocked (p < 0.0001 vs. HPC-treated mice) the development of ischemic tolerance.Conclusions: The early expression of CCL2 in neurons, the delayed expression of CCL2 in cerebral endothelial cells, and CCL2-mediated actions on circulating CCR2+ monocytes, appear to be required to establish ischemic tolerance to focal stroke in response to HPC, and thus represent a novel role for this chemokine in endogenous neurovascular protection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number522
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
StatePublished - Feb 16 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We recognize NIH RO1 HL79278 (JMG), NIH P01 NS32636 (JMG), American Heart Association (AMS), and Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation of the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis International for generously funding this research. Dr. Stowe was also supported by The Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University School of Medicine. We thank Dr. Keiko Hirose at Washington University for the breeding pairs of CCL2-/-/ CX3CR1GFP/+ mice. We would also like to thank Rehana Z. Hussain and Erin Shubel (UT Southwestern) for technical assistance.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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