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Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Nov;66:177-192. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.06.012. Epub 2017 Jun 23.

Stress primes microglial polarization after global ischemia: Therapeutic potential of progesterone.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: claudia.espinosa-garcia@emory.edu.
2
Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: isayeed@emory.edu.
3
Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: syousu2@emory.edu.
4
Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: fatif@emory.edu.
5
Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: elena.sergeeva@emory.edu.
6
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: gretchen.neigh@emory.edu.
7
Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. Electronic address: dstei04@emory.edu.

Abstract

Despite the fact that stress is associated with increased risk of stroke and worsened outcome, most preclinical studies have ignored this comorbid factor, especially in the context of testing neuroprotective treatments. Preclinical research suggests that stress primes microglia, resulting in an enhanced reactivity to a subsequent insult and potentially increasing vulnerability to stroke. Ischemia-induced activated microglia can be polarized into a harmful phenotype, M1, which produces pro-inflammatory cytokines, or a protective phenotype, M2, which releases anti-inflammatory cytokines and neurotrophic factors. Selective modulation of microglial polarization by inhibiting M1 or stimulating M2 may be a potential therapeutic strategy for treating cerebral ischemia. Our laboratory and others have shown progesterone to be neuroprotective against ischemic stroke in rodents, but it is not known whether it will be as effective under a comorbid condition of chronic stress. Here we evaluated the neuroprotective effect of progesterone on the inflammatory response in the hippocampus after exposure to stress followed by global ischemia. We focused on the effects of microglial M1/M2 polarization and pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators in stressed ischemic animals. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to 8 consecutive days of social defeat stress and then subjected to global ischemia or sham surgery. The rats received intraperitoneal injections of progesterone (8mg/kg) or vehicle at 2h post-ischemia followed by subcutaneous injections at 6h and once every 24h post-injury for 7days. The animals were killed at 7 and 14days post-ischemia, and brains were removed and processed to assess outcome measures using histological, immunohistochemical and molecular biology techniques. Pre-ischemic stress (1) exacerbated neuronal loss and neurodegeneration as well as microglial activation in the selectively vulnerable CA1 hippocampal region, (2) dysregulated microglial polarization, leading to upregulation of both M1 and M2 phenotype markers, (3) increased pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, and (4) reduced anti-inflammatory cytokine and neurotrophic factor expression in the ischemic hippocampus. Treatment with progesterone significantly attenuated stress-induced microglia priming by modulating polarized microglia and the inflammatory environment in the hippocampus, the area most vulnerable to ischemic injury. Our findings can be taken to suggest that progesterone holds potential as a candidate for clinical testing in ischemic stroke where high stress may be a contributing factor.

KEYWORDS:

Global ischemia; Inflammation; M1/M2 polarization; Microglia; Neuroprotection; Progesterone; Stress

PMID:
28648389
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbi.2017.06.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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