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Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2021; 30(2): 155-169

Published online March 12, 2021

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Dynamics of T Lymphocyte between the Periphery and the Brain from the Acute to the Chronic Phase Following Ischemic Stroke in Mice

Minha Kim1†, So-Dam Kim2†, Kyoung In Kim3, Eun Hae Jeon1,4, Min Gee Kim2, Yu-Ree Lim1, Enkhmaa Lkhagva-Yondon1,4, Yena Oh1, Kwangmin Na1, Young Cheul Chung3, Byung Kwan Jin3, Yun Seon Song2* and Myung-Shin Jeon1,4,5*

1Translational Research Center, Department of Molecular Biomedicine, IRIMS, and College of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon 22332, 2College of Pharmacy, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul 04310, 3Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, 4Program in Biomedical Science and Engineering, Graduate School, Inha University, Incheon 22332, 5Convergent Research Center for Metabolism and Immunoregulation, Inha University, Incheon 22212, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Myung-Shin Jeon, TEL: 82-32-890-3682, FAX: 82-32-890-2462
Yun Seon Song, TEL: 82-2-2077-7231, FAX: 82-2-710-9871
These authors contributed equally to this article.

Received: December 17, 2020; Revised: March 3, 2021; Accepted: March 3, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Stroke causes systemic immunosuppression. T lymphocytes are involved in infarct size in the early stages of stroke. However, the phenotypes of T lymphocytes and their functions in peripheral immune organs and the brain have not been well analyzed in the acute and chronic phases of stroke. Here, we investigated pathological phenotypic alterations in the systemic immune response, especially changes in T lymphocytes, from one day to six months after ischemic stroke in mice. Impairment in thymocyte numbers, development, proliferation, and apoptosis were observed for up to two weeks. The number of mature T cells in the spleen and blood decreased and showed reduced interferon-γ production. Increased numbers of CD4-CD8-CD3+ double-negative T cells were observed in the mouse brain during the early stages of stroke, whereas interleukin (IL)-10+Foxp3+ regulatory T lymphocytes increased from two weeks during the chronic phase. These phenotypes correlated with body weight and neurological severity scores. The recovery of T lymphocyte numbers and increases in IL-10+Foxp3+ regulatory T lymphocytes may be important for long-term neurological outcomes. Dynamic changes in T lymphocytes between the acute and chronic phases may play different roles in pathogenesis and recovery. This study provides fundamental information regarding the T lymphocyte alterations from the brain to the peripheral immune organs following stroke.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Ischemic stroke, T lymphocytes, Thymocyte, IL-10, Foxp3, Regulatory T cells