Cerebral hemorrhage associated with antithrombotic and thrombolytic therapy in acute stroke continues to present a major clinical problem. Rupture of the cerebral microvasculature involves the degradation and remodeling of extracellular matrix. Here we demonstrated that the delayed administration of heparin 3 hours after photothrombotic middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) caused cerebral hemorrhage in wild-type (WT) mice but not in tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)-deficient knockout (KO) mice. Heparin administration increased tPA activity and its mRNA expression at 6 and 12 hours after MCAO in the ischemic hemispheres of WT mice. The expression of tPA was enhanced in microglial cells in the ischemic border zone. We also observed an exacerbation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 expression at the mRNA level and its conversion to an active form after heparin administration in the ischemic hemisphere in WT mice but not in tPA KO mice. The increased MMP 9 expression was localized in microglial cells and endothelial cells. These findings suggest that endogenous tPA, through the enhancement of MMP 9 expression and proteolytic activation, plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of heparin-produced cerebral hemorrhage. Targeting tPA, MMP 9, or both may provide a new approach for preventing cerebral hemorrhage associated with antithrombotic therapy for stroke in humans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology