Essential role of program death 1-ligand 1 in regulatory T-cell-afforded protection against blood-brain barrier damage after stroke.

Research paper by Peiying P Li, Leilei L Mao, Xiangrong X Liu, Yu Y Gan, Jing J Zheng, Angus W AW Thomson, Yanqin Y Gao, Jun J Chen, Xiaoming X Hu

Indexed on: 06 Feb '14Published on: 06 Feb '14Published in: Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation


Our recent research revealed that adoptively transferred regulatory T cells (Tregs) reduced acute ischemic brain injury by inhibiting neutrophil-derived matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and protecting against blood-brain barrier damage. The mechanisms underlying Treg interactions with neutrophils remain elusive. This study evaluates the contribution of program death 1-ligand 1 (PD-L1) to Treg-mediated neutrophil inhibition and neuroprotection after cerebral ischemia.In vitro experiments were performed using a transwell system or a coculture system allowing cell-to-cell contact. Focal cerebral ischemia was induced in mice for 60 minutes. Tregs (2×10(6)) isolated from donor animals (wild-type or PD-L1-/-) were intravenously injected into ischemic recipients 2 hours after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). MMP-9 production, blood-brain barrier permeability, and brain infarct were assessed at 1 or 3 days after MCAO.In vitro experiments reveal that Treg-mediated inhibition of neutrophil MMP-9 required direct cell-to-cell contact. The suppression of MMP-9 was abolished when Tregs were pretreated with PD-L1 neutralizing antibodies or when neutrophils were pretreated with PD-1 antibodies. In vivo studies confirmed that intravenous administration of Tregs pretreated with PD-L1 antibodies or Tregs isolated from PD-L1-deficient mice failed to inhibit MMP-9 production by blood neutrophils 1 day after 60 minutes MCAO. Furthermore, the blood-brain barrier damage after MCAO was greatly ameliorated in PD-L1-competent Treg-treated mice but not in PD-L1-compromised Treg-treated mice. Consequently, PD-L1 dysfunction abolished Treg-mediated brain protection and neurological improvements 3 days after MCAO.PD-L1 plays an essential role in the neuroprotection afforded by Tregs against cerebral ischemia by mediating the suppressive effect of Tregs on neutrophil-derived MMP-9.