Role of Endothelial STAT3 in Cerebrovascular Function and Protection from Ischemic Brain Injury

Catherine M. Davis, Kristin Lyon-Scott, Elena V. Varlamov, Wenri H. Zhang, Nabil J. Alkayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


STAT3 plays a protective role against ischemic brain injury; however, it is not clear which brain cell type mediates this effect, and by which mechanism. We tested the hypothesis that endothelial STAT3 contributes to protection from cerebral ischemia, by preserving cerebrovascular endothelial function and blood–brain barrier (BBB) integrity. The objective of this study was to determine the role of STAT3 in cerebrovascular endothelial cell (EC) survival and function, and its role in tissue outcome after cerebral ischemia. We found that in primary mouse brain microvascular ECs, STAT3 was constitutively active, and its phosphorylation was reduced by oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD), recovering after re-oxygenation. STAT3 inhibition, using two mechanistically different pharmacological inhibitors, increased EC injury after OGD. The sub-lethal inhibition of STAT3 caused endothelial dysfunction, demonstrated by reduced nitric oxide release in response to acetylcholine and reduced barrier function of the endothelial monolayer. Finally, mice with reduced endothelial STAT3 (Tie2-Cre; STAT3flox/wt) sustained larger brain infarcts after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) compared to wild-type (WT) littermates. We conclude that STAT3 is vital to maintaining cerebrovascular integrity, playing a role in EC survival and function, and protection against cerebral ischemia. Endothelial STAT3 may serve as a potential target in preventing endothelial dysfunction after stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12167
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • BBB
  • STAT3
  • cerebral ischemia
  • endothelial cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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