1. General Surgery Department, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
2. Immunology Research Center for Oral and Systemic Health, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
3. Beijing Key Laboratory of Tolerance Induction and Organ Protection in Transplantation, Beijing, China.
4. National Clinical Research Center for Digestive Diseases, Beijing, China.
5. Beijing Laboratory of Oral Health, Capital Medical University School of Stomatology, Beijing, China.
6. Beijing Clinical Research Institute, Beijing, China.
7. Department of Neurology, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
8. Beijing Institute of Brain Disorders, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: Excessive immune activation leads to secondary injury and impedes injured brain recovery after ischemic stroke. However, few effective methods are currently used for equilibrating immune balance. CD3+NK1.1-TCRβ+CD4-CD8- double-negative T (DNT) cells which do not express NK cell surface markers are unique regulatory cells that maintain homeostasis in several immune-related diseases. However, the therapeutic potential and regulatory mechanism of DNT cells in ischemic stroke are still unknown.
Methods: Mouse ischemic stroke is induced by occlusion of the distal branches of the middle cerebral artery (dMCAO). DNT cells were adoptively transferred intravenously into ischemic stroke mice. Neural recovery was evaluated by TTC staining and behavioral analysis. Using immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, and RNA sequencing, the immune regulatory function of DNT cells was investigated at different time points post ischemic stroke.
Results: Adoptive transfer of DNT cells significantly reduces infarct volume and improves sensorimotor function after ischemic stroke. DNT cells suppress peripheral Trem1+ myeloid cell differentiation during the acute phase. Furthermore, they infiltrate the ischemic tissue via CCR5 and equilibrate the local immune balance during the subacute phase. During the chronic phase, DNT cells enhance Treg cell recruitment through CCL5, eventually developing an immune homeostatic milieu for neuronal recovery.
Conclusions: DNT cell treatment renders the comprehensive anti-inflammatory roles in specific phases of ischemic stroke. Our study suggests that the adoptive transfer of regulatory DNT cells may be a potential cell-based therapy for ischemic stroke.
Keywords: Ischemic stroke, Double-negative T cell, Regulatory T cell, Myeloid cell