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This article is the author’s final published version in Scientific Reports, Volume 12, Issue 1, March 2022, Article number 4176.

The published version is available at Copyright © Blanco-Suarez and Allen.


Ischemic injury occurs when the brain is deprived of blood flow, preventing cells from receiving essential nutrients. The injury core is the brain region directly deprived and is surrounded by the peri-infarct area, the region with recovery potential. In the peri-infarct area neurons undergo acute loss of dendritic spines, which modifies synaptic plasticity and determines neuronal survival. Astrocytes can be protective or detrimental to the ischemic injury response depending on the specific stage, yet we lack clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Chordin-like 1 (Chrdl1) is an astrocyte-secreted protein that promotes synaptic maturation and limits experience-dependent plasticity in the mouse visual cortex. Given this plasticity-limiting function we asked if Chrdl1 regulates the response to ischemic injury, modelled using photothrombosis (PT). We find that Chrdl1 mRNA is upregulated in astrocytes in the peri-infarct area in both acute and sub-acute phases post-PT. To determine the impact of increased Chrdl1 on the response to PT we analyzed Chrdl1 knock-out mice. We find that absence of Chrdl1 prevents ischemia-induced spine loss in the peri-infarct area and reduces cell death in the core, without impacting gliosis. These findings highlight the important role of astrocyte-secreted proteins in regulating structural plasticity in response to brain ischemic injuries.

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