Brain transforms natural killer cells that exacerbate brain edema after intracerebral hemorrhage.
Li Zhiguo,Li Minshu,Shi Samuel X,Yao Nan,Cheng Xiaojing,Guo Ai,Zhu Zilong,Zhang Xiaoan,Liu Qiang
The Journal of experimental medicine
Perihematomal edema (PHE) occurs within hours after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), leading to secondary injury manifested by impaired blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity and destruction of adjacent tissue. To dissect the mechanisms underlying PHE formation, we profiled human and mouse perihematomal tissues and identified natural killer (NK) cells as the predominant immune cell subset that outnumbers other infiltrating immune cell types during early stages of ICH. Unbiased clustering of single-cell transcriptional profiles revealed two major NK cell subsets that respectively possess high cytotoxicity or robust chemokine production features in the brain after ICH, distinguishing them from NK cells of the periphery. NK cells exacerbate BBB disruption and brain edema after ICH via cytotoxicity toward cerebral endothelial cells and recruitment of neutrophils that augment focal inflammation. Thus, brain-bound NK cells acquire new features that contribute to PHE formation and neurological deterioration following ICH.