In ischemic stroke patients, a higher monocyte count is associated with disease severity and worse prognosis. The complex correlation between subset phenotypes and functions underscores the importance of clarifying the role of monocyte subpopulations. We examined the subtype-specific distribution of the CD163+ and CD80+ circulating monocytes and evaluated their association with the inflammatory status in 26 ischemic stroke patients and 16 healthy controls. An increased percentage of CD163+/CD16+ and CD163+/CD14++ events occurred 24 and 48 h after a stroke compared to the controls. CD163+ expression was more pronounced in CD16+ non-classical and intermediate monocytes, as compared to CD14+ classical subtype, 24 h after stroke. Conversely, the percentage of CD80+/CD16+ events was unaffected in patients; meanwhile, the percentage of CD80+/CD14+ events significantly increased only 24 h after stroke. Interleukin (IL)-1beta, TNF-alpha, and IL-4 mRNA levels were higher, while IL-10 mRNA levels were reduced in total monocytes from patients versus controls, at either 24 h or 48 h after stroke. The percentage of CD163+/CD16+ events 24 h after stroke was positively associated with NIHSS score and mRS at admission, suggesting that stroke severity and disability are relevant triggers for CD163+ expression in circulating CD16+ monocytes.
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