Post-Stroke Immunodepression and Infection: An Emerging Concept

Author(s): Hedley C. A. Emsley, Stephen J. Hopkins

Journal Name: Infectious Disorders - Drug Targets
Formerly Current Drug Targets - Infectious Disorders

Volume 10 , Issue 2 , 2010

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Infections occur commonly following stroke and adversely influence outcome. Dysphagia, greater stroke severity and increasing age are associated with post-stroke infection, but post-stroke immunodepression is now recognised as an independent factor associated with increased susceptibility. Counter-regulatory responses, triggered by the proinflammatory response to stroke, appear to effect systemic immunodepression via suppression of both innate and adaptive immune responses. Experimental and clinical studies have identified a range of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive changes, including reduced mononuclear phagocyte and natural killer cell function, induction of antiinflammatory cytokines, apoptotic lymphocyte loss and altered T lymphocyte activity. A range of mechanisms has been proposed, including hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activation. The post-stroke balance of pro- and anti- inflammatory mechanisms may be aimed at restricting the extent of inflammation and contributing to the restoration of immune homeostasis. However, severe inflammation in the brain may trigger major systemic, counter-inflammatory responses that ultimately compromise immune mechanisms required to combat pathogens. Although key pathways have been identified, the extent to which the various elements of post-stroke immunodepression are clinically relevant remains to be discovered. The identification of markers of immunodepression in the early post-stroke phase may prove useful for identifying patients that may have increased susceptibility to infection. It also seems likely that post-stroke immunodepression will need to be taken into account where stroke treatments impact upon inflammatory and immune pathways.

Keywords: Stroke, post-stroke infection, immunodepression

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Article Details

Year: 2010
Published on: 01 March, 2012
Page: [91 - 97]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/187152610790963528
Price: $65

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