Approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, and 400,000 will experience long-term disability. The number of stroke survivors in the population is expected to double by 2025. Currently, treatments for stroke patients are limited to tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), but its use is limited to the first few hours after stroke. Therefore, the goal of our research is to develop new therapeutics that can promote repair and recovery in this rapidly growing population.
The Doyle lab investigates the role of the immune system in causing dementia after stroke. Up to 30% of stroke patients develop dementia in the months and years after their stroke and we are testing the hypothesis that in some patients this is due to a chronic inflammatory response that persists at the site of the stroke infarct. We suspect that in the weeks, months and possibly years after stroke, neurotoxic inflammatory mediators, including T cells, cytokines and antibodies, leak out of the stroke infarct and cause bystander damage to the surrounding tissue, which then both impairs recovery, and in some instances leads to cognitive decline. In support of this hypothesis we have data that demonstrates that inflammation persists for months at the site of the infarct after stroke, and that a single stroke can directly lead to the development of immune-mediated delayed cognitive deficits. We are currently in the process of targeting different components of the prolonged inflammatory response to stroke to determine if post stroke dementia can be treated by selectively ablating individual immune mediators such as B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, and CCR2. Keywords: Neuroinflammation, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer's disease