Background. The goal of this study was to determine whether leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) promotes anti-inflammatory activity after stroke in a sex-dependent manner. Methods. Aged (18-month-old) Sprague-Dawley rats of both sexes underwent sham surgery or permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Animals received three doses of intravenous LIF (125 μg/kg) or PBS at 6, 24, and 48 h before euthanization at 72 h. Spleen weights were measured immediately following euthanization. Western blot was used to measure protein levels of CCL8, CD11b, CXCL9, CXCL10, IL-12 p40, IL-3, and the LIF receptor (LIFR) in spleen tissue. ELISA was used to measure IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα, and IFNγ in spleen tissue. A Griess Assay was used to indirectly quantify NO levels via measurement of nitrite. Levels of cellular markers and inflammatory mediators were normalized to the baseline (sham) group from each sex. Statistical analysis was performed using two-way ANOVA and followed by Fisher’s LSD post hoc test. Results. Aged female rats showed a significantly lower spleen weight after MCAO, but showed a significant increase in spleen size after LIF treatment. This effect was observed in aged male rats, but not to as great of an extent. CD11b levels were significantly higher in the spleens of MCAO+PBS males compared to their female counterparts, but there was no significant difference in CD11b levels between MCAO+LIF males and females. LIF significantly increased CXCL9 after LIF treatment in aged male and female rats. LIFR and IL-3 were upregulated after LIF treatment in aged females. Splenic nitrate increased after MCAO but decreased after LIF treatment in aged females. Splenic nitrate levels did not increase after MCAO but did increase after LIF treatment in aged males. The following cytokines/chemokines were not altered by sex or treatment: TNFα, IL-6, IL-12 p40, CCL8, IFNγ, and CXCL10. Conclusions. LIF treatment after permanent MCAO induces sex-dependent effects on the poststroke splenic response and the production of proinflammatory cytokines among aged rats.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, v. 2020, article ID 8880244.

Copyright © 2020 Stephanie M. Davis et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Neurology at the University of Kentucky for providing additional startup funding for the experiments and equipment. This work was supported by internal funding from the University of Kentucky and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Grant Numbers: 1R01NS091146-01, 1R56NS091146-01, and 1R21NS078517-01).

Related Content

All data generated and analyzed during this study are not publicly available but can be made available from the corresponding author upon request.