Platelet-Reactive Antibodies in Patients after Ischaemic Stroke—An Epiphenomenon or a Natural Protective Mechanism
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Ischaemic brain damage induces autoimmune responses, including the production of autoantibodies with potential neuroprotective effects. Platelets share unexplained similarities with neurons, and the formation of anti-platelet antibodies has been documented in neurological disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of anti-platelet antibodies in the peripheral blood of patients after ischaemic stroke and determine any clinical correlations. Using a flow cytometry-based
... ytometry-based platelet immunofluorescence method, we detected platelet-reactive antibodies in 15 of 48 (31%) stroke patients and two of 50 (4%) controls (p < 0.001). Western blotting revealed heterogeneous reactivities with platelet proteins, some of which overlapped with brain proteins. Stroke patients who carried anti-platelet antibodies presented with larger infarcts and more severe neurological dysfunction, which manifested as higher scores on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS; p = 0.009), but they had a greater recovery in the NIHSS by the time of hospital discharge (day 7 ± 2) compared with antibody-negative patients (p = 0.043). Antibodies from stroke sera reacted more strongly with activated platelets (p = 0.031) and inhibited platelet aggregation by up to 30.1 ± 2.8% (p < 0.001), suggesting the potential to interfere with thrombus formation. In conclusion, platelet-reactive antibodies can be found in patients soon after ischaemic stroke and correlate with better short-term outcomes, suggesting a potential novel mechanism limiting thrombosis.