Toll-Like Receptor 4 Mediates Hemorrhagic Transformation After Delayed Tissue Plasminogen Activator Administration in In Situ Thromboembolic Stroke

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Background and Purpose—Hemorrhagic transformation is the main complication of revascularization therapies after stroke. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is implicated in cerebral damage and inflammation in stroke. This study was designed to determine the role of TLR4 in hemorrhagic transformation development after tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) administration.Methods—Mice expressing (TLR4+/+) or lacking functional TLR4 (TLR4/−) were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion using an in situ thromboembolic model by thrombin injection into the middle cerebral artery, and tPA (10 mg/kg) was administered 20 minutes or 3 hours after ischemia. Infarct size, hemorrhages, IgG extravasation, matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression, and neutrophil infiltration were assessed 24 hours after ischemia.Results—In TLR4+/+, early reperfusion (tPA at 20 minutes) resulted infarct volume, whereas late recanalization (tPA at 3 hours) did not modify lesion size and increased the rate of the most severe hemorrhages. In TLR4/− mice, both early and late reperfusion did not modify lesion size. Importantly, late tPA administration did not result in worse hemorrhages and in an increased bleeding area as occurred in TLR4+/+ group. In TLR4/− animals, late reperfusion produced a lesser increase in matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression when compared with TLR4+/+ animals.Conclusions—Our results demonstrate TLR4 involvement in hemorrhagic transformation induced by delayed tPA administration, very likely by increasing matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression.

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