Stroke-induced immunosuppression (SIIS) leads to severe complications in stroke patients, including an
increased risk of infections. However, functional alterations of T lymphocytes during SIIS are poorly described in acute
ischemic stroke (AIS). We aimed to characterize Ca2+ influx kinetics in major lymphocyte subsets (CD4, Th1, Th2, CD8)
in AIS patients without infection 6 hours and one week after the CNS insult. We also assessed the sensitivity of the above
subsets to specific inhibition of the Kv1.3 and IKCa1 lymphocyte K+ channels. We took peripheral blood samples from 12
non-stroke individuals and 12 AIS patients. We used an innovative flow cytometry approach to determine Ca2+ influx
kinetics and the surface expression of Kv1.3 channels. Our results indicate that Ca2+ influx kinetics is altered in the Th2
and CD8 subsets in AIS which may play a role in the development of SIIS. Specific inhibition of Kv1.3 channels
selectively decreased Ca2+ influx in the CD8 and Th2 subsets of AIS patients. The surface expression of Kv1.3 channels is
also altered compared to non-stroke individuals. Kv1.3 channel inhibition might have beneficial therapeutic consequences
in AIS, selectively targeting two distinct T cell subsets at two different time points following the CNS insult. Within hours
after the insult, it might prevent excessive tissue injury through the inhibition of CD8 cells, while at one week after the
insult, it may improve the inflammatory response through the inhibition of Th2 cells, thus reducing the unwanted clinical
consequences of SIIS.
Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke, calcium influx, IKCa1, Kv1.3, stroke induced immunosuppression.
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