Diabetic Stroke Promotes a Sexually Dimorphic Expansion of T Cells

Ladonya Jackson, Weiguo Li, Yasir Abdul, Guangkuo Dong, Babak Baban, Adviye Ergul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We recently reported that diabetes negates the cerebrovascular protection typically seen in adult female rats resulting in cognitive impairment, which is worsened by increased parenchymal bleeding and edema after ischemic stroke. Although women experience more severe diabetes and suffer from a higher rate of diabetic complications, including stroke and cognitive impairment, underlying mechanisms contributing to sex differences are limited. Emerging evidence suggests interleukin (IL)-17 contributes to cerebrovascular pathologies: (1) high salt diet-mediated expansion of IL-17-producing T cells (Th17) in the gut microbiome promotes cerebrovascular dysfunction and cognitive impairment in male mice, (2) increased IL-17-producing γδTCR cells exacerbates stroke injury in male mice, and (3) IL-17 promotes rupture of cerebral aneurysms in female mice. Based on these premises, we investigated the potential involvement of IL-17-producing inflammatory cells in cerebrovascular dysfunction and post-stroke vascular injury in diabetes by measuring intestinal, circulating, or cerebral T cell profiles as well as in plasma IL-17 in both sexes. Cell suspensions prepared from naive or stroked (3 days after stroke) diabetic and control rats were analyzed by flow cytometry, and IL-17 levels were measured in plasma using ELISA. Diabetes deferentially promoted the expansion of cerebral Th17 cells in females. In response to stroke, diabetes had a sexually dimorphic effect on the expansion of numerous T cell profiles. These results suggest that a better understanding of the role of IL-17-producing cells in diabetes may identify potential avenues in which the molecular mechanisms contributing to these sex differences can be further elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-453
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroMolecular Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Blood
  • Brain
  • Diabetes
  • Female
  • IL-17
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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