Combination therapy with low-dose IVIG and a C1-esterase inhibitor ameliorates brain damage and functional deficits in experimental ischemic stroke Academic Article uri icon


  • Acute ischemic stroke causes a high rate of deaths and permanent neurological deficits in survivors. Current interventional treatment, in the form of enzymatic thrombolysis, benefits only a small percentage of patients. Brain ischemia triggers mobilization of innate immunity, specifically the complement system and Toll-like receptors (TLRs), ultimately leading to an exaggerated inflammatory response. Here we demonstrate that intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a scavenger of potentially harmful complement fragments, and C1-esterase inhibitor (C1-INH), an inhibitor of complement activation, exert a beneficial effect on the outcome of experimental brain ischemia (I) and reperfusion (R) injury induced by transient occlusion of middle cerebral artery in mice. Both IVIG and C1-INH significantly and in a dose-responsive manner reduced brain infarction size, neurological deficit and mortality when administered to male mice 30 min before ischemia or up to 6 h after the onset of reperfusion. When combined, suboptimal doses of IVIG and C1-INH potentiated each other's neuroprotective therapeutic effects. Complement C3 and TLR2 signals were colocalized and significantly greater in brain cells adjacent to infracted brain lesions when compared to the corresponding regions of the contralateral hemisphere and to control (sham) mice. Treatment with IVIG and C1-INH effectively reduced deposition of C3b and downregulated excessive TLR2 and p-JNK1 expression at the site of I/R injury. Taken together, these results provide a rationale for potential use of IVIG and C1-INH, alone or in combination with ischemic stroke and other neurological conditions that involve inappropriately activated components of the innate immune system.

publication date

  • 2018

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