Preliminary results in the analysis of the immune response after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Jorge A. Roa, Deepon Sarkar, Mario Zanaty, Daizo Ishii, Yongjun Lu, Nitin J. Karandikar, David M. Hasan, Sterling B. Ortega, Edgar A. Samaniego

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16 Scopus citations


Cerebral vasospasm (VSP) is a common phenomenon after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) and contributes to neurocognitive decline. The natural history of the pro-inflammatory immune response after aSAH has not been prospectively studied in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In this pilot study, we aimed to identify specific immune mediators of VSP after aSAH. Peripheral blood (PB) and CSF samples from patients with aSAH were prospectively collected at different time-points after hemorrhage: days 0–1 (acute); days 2–4 (pre-VSP); days 5–9 (VSP) and days 10 + (post-VSP peak). Presence and severity of VSP was assessed with computed tomography angiography/perfusion imaging and clinical examination. Cytokine and immune mediators’ levels were quantified using ELISA. Innate and adaptive immune cells were characterized by flow cytometry, and cell counts at different time-points were compared with ANOVA. Confocal immunostaining was used to determine the presence of specific immune cell populations detected in flow cytometry. Thirteen patients/aneurysms were included. Five (38.5%) patients developed VSP after a mean of 6.8 days from hemorrhage. Flow cytometry demonstrated decreased numbers of CD45+ cells during the acute phase in PB of aSAH patients compared with healthy controls. In CSF of VSP patients, NK cells (CD3-CD161 +) were increased during the acute phase and progressively declined, whereas CD8+CD161+ lymphocytes significantly increased at days 5–9. Microglia cells (CD45dimCD11b +) increased over time after SAH. This increase was particularly significant in patients with VSP. Levels of VEGF and MMP-9 were consistently higher in VSP patients, with the highest difference occurring at the acute phase. Confocal immunostaining demonstrated the presence of CD8+CD161+ lymphocytes in the arterial wall of two unruptured intracranial aneurysms. In this preliminary study, human CSF showed active presence of innate and adaptive immune cells after aSAH. CD8+CD161+ lymphocytes may have an important role in the inflammatory response after aneurysmal rupture and were identified in the aneurysmal wall of unruptured brain aneurysms. Microglia activation occurs 6 + days after aSAH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11809
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


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