The immune response to Stroke

REF: PD 26
Principle investigator:
Anna M. Planas
Contact details:



Research framework

The project aims to understand the role of T cells in brain damage after stroke. Several lines of experimental evidence support a deleterious role of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells after stroke. Here we will address whether this effect is antigen specific, following our recent finding of the presence of brain-derived antigens in lymphoid tissue of stroke patients (Planas et al., 2012, J Immunol).

Techniques that we will use include experimental models of stroke, flow cytometry, cell sorting, cell stimulation, arrays of RNA and protein, and immunohistochemistry in samples of mice and humans after stroke. Experimental murine stroke models will be carried out in genetically modified mice and interventions like adoptive transfer and immunomodulatory treatments will be performed. Brain damage will be assessed in living subjects with MRI and neurological tests.

The most relevant publications from our team supporting this research are:

  • Planas AM, Gómez-Choco M, Urra X, Gorina R, Caballero M, Chamorro A (2012) Brain-derived antigens in lymhoid tissue of patients with acute stroke. J Immunol 188(5):2156-63
  • Chamorro A, Meisel A, Planas AM, Urra X, van de Beek D, Veltkamp R (2012) The immunology of stroke. Nat Rev Neurol (in press)

Research group path: The researcher will be under direct supervision of Dr. Anna M. Planas. Dr. Angel Chamorro will coordinate all the research involving human subjects. The researcher will incorporate in a team working with several postdoctoral researchers that currently address other aspects of immunology in stroke and a transversal network between them will be established.

Added value: The group is expert in stroke research and in the last five years we have contributed to highlight the important alterations of the immune system after stroke (see references above).


Stroke, brain antigens, lymphoid tissue, immune responses, experimental, clinical

Main Challenges

Desirable achievements include:

  • find out whether human T cells are responsive to brain-antigen specific challenges after stroke
  • establish clinical correlates between experimental data and prognostics 
  • determine whether the T cell responses can be modulated and whether this influences stroke outcome

The researcher is expected to work independently from the technical point of view, but all results will be discussed in detail between the team members and supervisors, and the experimental design and procedures will be carried out in a team-driven basis.

The materials, infrastructures, and financial support necessary to develop this project will be provided by the team through ongoing research projects financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Health, and the European Union.

Team strategic objective in IDIBAPS

Our team studies stroke from the clinical perspective and using experimental approaches and neuroimaging techniques. We focus our interest in the role of inflammation and immune responses in the physiopathology of stroke brain damage. The ultimate goal is to provide therapeutic strategies for the treatment of stroke.

(Read eligibility criteria)