N2 Neutrophils, Novel Players in Brain Inflammation After Stroke
Modulation by the PPARγ Agonist Rosiglitazone
Background and Purpose—Neutrophils have been traditionally recognized as major mediators of a deleterious inflammatory response in acute ischemic stroke, but their potential as a therapeutic target remains unexplored. Recent evidence indicates that neutrophils may acquire different phenotypes and contribute to resolution of inflammation through the release of anti-inflammatory mediators. Thus, similar to M2 macrophages, neutrophils have been proposed to shift toward an N2 phenotype, a polarization that is peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ dependent in macrophages. We hypothesize that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ activation with rosiglitazone induces changes in neutrophilic mobilization and phenotype that might influence stroke outcome.
Methods—Brain sections and cell suspensions were prepared from mice exposed to permanent distal middle cerebral artery occlusion. Double immunostaining with stereological counting of brain sections and flow-cytometry analysis of brain cell suspensions were performed.
Results—Rosiglitazone accelerated neutrophil infiltration to the ischemic core, concomitantly to neuroprotection. Some neutrophils (≈31%) expressed M2 markers, namely Ym1 and CD206 (mannose receptor). After treatment with the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ agonist rosiglitazone, most neutrophils (≈77%) acquired an N2 phenotype. Interestingly, rosiglitazone increased neutrophil engulfment by microglia/macrophages, a clearance that preferentially affected the N2 subset.
Conclusions—We present the first evidence of neutrophil reprogramming toward an N2 phenotype in brain inflammation, which can be modulated by activation of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ nuclear receptor. We also show that N2 polarization is associated with an increased neutrophil clearance, thus suggesting that this switch is a crucial event for resolution of inflammation that may participate in neuroprotection.
- Received June 13, 2013.
- Accepted September 12, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.