GPR39 Knockout Worsens Microcirculatory Response to Experimental Stroke in a Sex-Dependent Manner

Yifan Xu, Wenri H. Zhang, Elyse M. Allen, Lev M. Fedorov, Anthony P. Barnes, Zu Yuan Qian, Thierno Madjou Bah, Yuandong Li, Ruikang K. Wang, Robert E. Shangraw, Nabil J. Alkayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


No current treatments target microvascular reperfusion after stroke, which can contribute to poor outcomes even after successful clot retrieval. The G protein–coupled receptor GPR39 is expressed in brain peri-capillary pericytes, and has been implicated in microvascular regulation, but its role in stroke is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that GPR39 plays a protective role after stroke, in part due to preservation of microvascular perfusion. We generated GPR39 knockout (KO) mice and tested whether GPR39 gene deletion worsens capillary blood flow and exacerbates brain injury and functional deficit after focal cerebral ischemia. Stroke was induced in male and female GPR39 KO and WT littermates by 60-min middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Microvascular perfusion was assessed via capillary red blood cell (RBC) flux in deep cortical layers in vivo using optical microangiography (OMAG). Brain injury was assessed by measuring infarct size by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining at 24 h or brain atrophy at 3 weeks after ischemia. Pole and cylinder behavior tests were conducted to assess neurological function deficit at 1 and 3 weeks post-stroke. Male but not female GPR39 KO mice exhibited larger infarcts and lower capillary RBC flux than WT controls after stroke. Male GPR39 KO mice also exhibited worse neurologic deficit at 1 week post-stroke, though functional deficit disappeared in both groups by 3 weeks. GPR39 deletion worsens brain injury, microvascular perfusion, and neurological function after experimental stroke. Results indicate that GPR39 plays a sex-dependent role in re-establishing microvascular flow and limiting ischemic brain damage after stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-775
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational Stroke Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Capillary flux
  • G protein–coupled receptor 39
  • No-reflow
  • OMAG
  • Pericytes
  • Sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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