Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Dr. Sterling Ortega received a pilot grant from the University of Iowa StrokeNet for Translational Stroke Studies. The grant entitled “Deep Immune Profiling with High Parameter Flow Cytometry to Identify Clinically Relevant Immune Correlates of Long-Term Cognitive Decline” is a collaboration between Dr. Ortega (Department of Pathology), Dr. Santiago Ortega-Gutiérrez (Department of Neurology) and Dr. Daniel Tranel (Department of Neuroscience).

The incidence of stroke has risen over the past decade and will continue to be one of the leading causes of adult disability and death worldwide. Reperfusion therapy using intravenous Alteplase within 3-4.5 hours or endovascular thrombectomy (a technique performed here at UI by Dr. Ortega-Gutierrez) for large vessel occlusion remains the only proven stroke therapy during the acute phase. But a select set of patients still exhibit poor recovery of neurological function, despite active cortical reorganization. The mechanisms that underlie this neurological dysfunction is still poorly understood. Subsequent to ischemic injury, a massive inflammatory response is seen for days, which exacerbates neuropathology in stroke models. The central goal of this proposal is to determine if early changes in immune cells near the site of occlusion can be used as predictors of long-term neurofunctional decline using standard, low-cost flow cytometry.

The impact of this study will be three-fold. First, by using high parameter flow cytometry, a technology readily available to health institutions, the impact of these results will be easily translatable to the clinic. Secondly, by elucidating the changes in immune cells at the site of occlusion and its correlation with cognitive decline, future studies can dissect mechanisms involved in poor functional recovery. This, in turn, will highlight therapeutic targets which can assist in improving functional recovery.