Abstract

Ischemic stroke is the second leading cause of death and disability. The only approved therapy available is recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), but its use remains limited. Therefore, there is a need for an alternative drug. Platelets and their adhesion receptors play a crucial role in modulating infarct size during ischemic stroke. ADAMTS13 (A Disintegrin-like And Metalloprotease with Thrombospondin type I repeats-13) is a plasma metalloprotease that cleaves von Willebrand factor (VWF) an important adhesion molecule for platelets at sites of vascular injury. In patients, an increase in circulating levels of VWF and a decrease in ADAMTS13 activity are considered risk factors for ischemic stroke. By using genetically-modified mice we have previously shown that ADAMTS13 down regulates both thrombosis and inflammation and recombinant human ADAMTS13 down regulates platelet thrombi in injured arterioles. All these processes were dependent on VWF. We therefore hypothesize that ADAMTS13 has a protective role after ischemic stroke. In this study, we show that VWF deficiency or VWF heterozygosity in mice reduces infarct volume by two-fold after focal cerebral ischemia compared to wild-type (WT) in the middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) stroke model. Furthermore, infusion of recombinant human VWF in WT mice not only accelerates thrombosis in the ferric-chloride injured artery model, but also increases infarct volume compared to vehicle-treated controls. These findings suggest an essential role of VWF in modulating infarction after stroke. We also show that ADAMTS13 deficiency in mice results in approximately 20% larger infarcts after cerebral ischemia compared to WT. The larger infarcts observed in ADAMTS13 deficient mice were due to VWF because mice deficient in both ADAMTS13 and VWF had infarct sizes similar to VWF deficient mice. Importantly, infusion of r-human ADAMTS13 immediately before reperfusion (two hour after occlusion) significantly reduced infarct volume (106.2 ± 9.7 mm3 vs 75.8 ± 6.9 mm3, P<0.05). Of note, we observed that ADAMTS13 protein was induced in the ischemic penumbra region of brain after ischemic stroke. Our findings reveal an important role for VWF in modulating infarct volume after ischemic stroke. In addition, recombinant-ADAMTS13 could become a new therapeutic agent for stroke therapy.

Disclosures: Dockal:Baxter Bioscience: Employment. Scheiflinger:Baxter Bioscience: Employment, Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees.

Author notes

Corresponding author