FTY720 Treatment in the Convalescence Period Improves Functional Recovery and Reduces Reactive Astrogliosis in Photothrombotic Stroke

Robert Brunkhorst*, Nathalie Kanaan, Alexander Koch, Nerea Ferreirós, Ana Mirceska, Pia Zeiner, Michel Mittelbronn, Amin Derouiche, Helmuth Steinmetz, Christian Foerch, Josef Pfeilschifter, Waltraud Pfeilschifter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Background:The Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) signaling pathway is known to influence pathophysiological processes within the brain and the synthetic S1P analog FTY720 has been shown to provide neuroprotection in experimental models of acute stroke. However, the effects of a manipulation of S1P signaling at later time points after experimental stroke have not yet been investigated. We examined whether a relatively late initiation of a FTY720 treatment has a positive effect on long-term neurological outcome with a focus on reactive astrogliosis, synapses and neurotrophic factors.Methods:We induced photothrombotic stroke (PT) in adult C57BL/6J mice and allowed them to recover for three days. Starting on post-stroke day 3, mice were treated with FTY720 (1 mg/kg b.i.d.) for 5 days. Behavioral outcome was observed until day 31 after photothrombosis and periinfarct cortical tissue was analyzed using tandem mass-spectrometry, TaqMan®analysis and immunofluorescence.Results:FTY720 treatment results in a significantly better functional outcome persisting up to day 31 after PT. This is accompanied by a significant decrease in reactive astrogliosis and larger post-synaptic densities as well as changes in the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor α (VEGF α). Within the periinfarct cortex, S1P is significantly increased compared to healthy brain tissue.Conclusion:Besides its known neuroprotective effects in the acute phase of experimental stroke, the initiation of FTY720 treatment in the convalescence period has a positive impact on long-term functional outcome, probably mediated through reduced astrogliosis, a modulation in synaptic morphology and an increased expression of neurotrophic factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere70124
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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