Hemorrhagic transformation is a serious complication of ischemic stroke after recanalization therapies. This study aims to identify mechanisms underlying hemorrhagic transformation after cerebral ischemia/reperfusion.Approach and Results—
We used wild-type mice and Selplg−/− and Fut7−/− mice defective in P-selectin binding and lymphopenic Rag2−/− mice. We induced 30-minute or 45-minute ischemia by intraluminal occlusion of the middle cerebral artery and assessed hemorrhagic transformation at 48 hours with a hemorrhage grading score, histological means, brain hemoglobin content, or magnetic resonance imaging. We depleted platelets and adoptively transferred T cells of the different genotypes to lymphopenic mice. Interactions of T cells with platelets in blood were studied by flow cytometry and image stream technology. We show that platelet depletion increased the bleeding risk only after large infarcts. Lymphopenia predisposed to hemorrhagic transformation after severe stroke, and adoptive transfer of T cells prevented hemorrhagic transformation in lymphopenic mice. CD4+ memory T cells were the subset of T cells binding P-selectin and platelets through functional P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1. Mice defective in P-selectin binding had a higher hemorrhagic score than wild-type mice. Adoptive transfer of T cells defective in P-selectin binding into lymphopenic mice did not prevent hemorrhagic transformation.Conclusions—
The study identifies lymphopenia as a previously unrecognized risk factor for secondary hemorrhagic transformation in mice after severe ischemic stroke. T cells prevent hemorrhagic transformation by their capacity to bind platelets through P-selectin. The results highlight the role of T cells in bridging immunity and hemostasis in ischemic stroke.