Atorvastatin Modulates Regulatory T Cells and Attenuates Cerebral Damage in a Model of Transient Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion in Rats.

Research paper by Ana Lucía AL Rodríguez-Perea, Johanna J Gutierrez-Vargas, Gloria Patricia GP Cardona-Gómez, Carlos Julio Montoya CJ Guarin, Mauricio M Rojas, Paula Andrea Velilla PA Hernández

Indexed on: 12 Sep '16Published on: 12 Sep '16Published in: Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology


Regulatory T cells (Tregs) inhibit the activation of the immune response which could down-regulate the systemic and focal activation observed during ischemic stroke. In fact, in animal models, Tregs infiltrate the infarcted brain and reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokine production and infarct volume, mainly in late stages of ischemia. Recently, an expansion and greater suppressive capacity of circulating Tregs after treatment with statins was observed, in addition to their cardio- and neuroprotective actions demonstrated previously. Thus, to determine whether Treg modulation mediated by statins can also be beneficial during stroke, cerebral ischemia was artificially induced in Wistar rats by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) during 60 minutes with subsequent reperfusion for 7 days. Six hours after surgery, some animals were treated with atorvastatin (ATV, 10 mg/kg) or carboxymethylcellulose as vehicle at the same concentration every other day during 7 days. Some animals were sham operated as control group of surgery. Interestingly, ATV treatment prevented the development of infarct volume, reduced the neurological deficits, and the circulating and cervical lymph node CD25(+)FoxP3(+) Treg population. Moreover, there was a reduction of glial cell activation, which correlated with decreased circulating Tregs. Remarkably, treatment with ATV induced an increase in the frequency of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells, in particular of those expressing CTLA-4, in brain samples. Together, these results suggest that ATV can modulate Tregs in peripheral tissue and favor their accumulation in the brain, where they can exert neuroprotective actions maybe by the reduction of glial cell activation.