Longitudinal Study Reveals Long-Term Proinflammatory Proteomic Signature After Ischemic Stroke Across Subtypes

Stroke. 2022 Sep;53(9):2847-2858. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.038349. Epub 2022 Jun 10.


Background: Inflammation contributes both to the pathogenesis of stroke and the response to brain injury. We aimed to identify proteins reflecting the acute-phase response and proteins more likely to reflect proinflammatory processes present before stroke by broadly profiling inflammation-related plasma proteins in a longitudinal ischemic stroke study.

Methods: Participants were from a Swedish ischemic stroke cohort (SAHLSIS [Sahlgrenska Academy Study on Ischemic Stroke], n=600 cases and n=600 controls). Plasma levels of 65 proteins including chemokines, interleukins, surface molecules, and immune receptors were measured once in controls and at 3× in cases: during the acute phase, after 3 months, and for a subgroup (n=223) at 7-year follow-up. Associations between proteins and ischemic stroke or subtype were investigated in multivariable binary regression models corrected for age, sex, vascular risk factors, and multiple testing.

Results: In the acute phase, 48 proteins were significantly and independently associated with ischemic stroke (false discovery rate adjusted P<0.05). At 3-month follow-up, 51 proteins and at 7-year follow-up 50 proteins were associated with ischemic stroke. The majority of proteins were upregulated in cases compared with controls (n=34 at all time points) and the most upregulated were CXCL5 (CXC chemokine ligand 5) and OSM (oncostatin M). Generally, large artery and cardioembolic stroke had the highest protein levels. However, several interesting subtype-specific differences were also detected at each time point.

Conclusions: We found inflammation-related proteins that were differentially regulated in ischemic stroke cases compared with controls only in the acute phase and others that remained elevated also at later time points. This latter group of proteins could reflect underlying pathophysiological processes of relevance. Future studies both in terms of disease risk and prognostication are warranted.

Keywords: chemokines; cryptogenic stroke; inflammation; interleukin; ischemic stroke; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia* / complications
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Ischemic Stroke*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Proteomics
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke* / etiology