Repetitive hypoxic preconditioning creates long-lasting, endogenous protection in a mouse model of stroke, characterized by reductions in leukocyte-endothelial adherence, inflammation, and infarct volumes. The constitutively expressed chemokine CXCL12 can be upregulated by hypoxia and limits leukocyte entry into brain parenchyma during central nervous system inflammatory autoimmune disease. We therefore hypothesized that the sustained tolerance to stroke induced by repetitive hypoxic preconditioning is mediated, in part, by long-Term CXCL12 upregulation at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In male Swiss Webster mice, repetitive hypoxic preconditioning elevated cortical CXCL12 protein levels, and the number of cortical CXCL12+ microvessels, for at least two weeks after the last hypoxic exposure. Repetitive hypoxic preconditioning-Treated mice maintained more CXCL12-positive vessels than untreated controls following transient focal stroke, despite cortical decreases in CXCL12 mRNA and protein. Continuous administration of the CXCL12 receptor (CXCR4) antagonist AMD3100 for two weeks following repetitive hypoxic preconditioning countered the increase in CXCL12-positive microvessels, both prior to and following stroke. AMD3100 blocked the protective post-stroke reductions in leukocyte diapedesis, including macrophages and NK cells, and blocked the protective effect of repetitive hypoxic preconditioning on lesion volume, but had no effect on blood-brain barrier dysfunction. These data suggest that CXCL12 upregulation prior to stroke onset, and its actions following stroke, contribute to the endogenous, anti-inflammatory phenotype induced by repetitive hypoxic preconditioning.
- hypoxic preconditioning