Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 contributes to the deleterious effect of obesity on the outcome of thrombotic ischemic stroke in mice


H. R. Lijnen, Centre for Molecular and Vascular Biology, KU Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, O & N 1, Herestraat 49, Box 911, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.
Tel.: 32 16 345771; fax 32 16 345990; e-mail:


Summary. Background: It is widely accepted that obesity is a risk factor for ischemic heart disease, but the association with stroke is less clear. Adipose tissue is an important source of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), the main inhibitor of plasminogen activation. Objective: To test the hypothesis that elevated PAI-1 levels associated with obesity negatively affect the outcome of thrombotic ischemic stroke. Methods: Middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion was induced photochemically in mice with nutritionally induced or genetically determined obesity and their lean counterparts. Results: The MCA occlusion time (to obtain complete occlusion) was significantly shorter in obese (nutritionally induced) than in lean wild-type (WT) C57Bl/6 mice, whereas the infarct size was significantly larger and intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) was enhanced (all < 0.05). Similar observations were made in genetically obese ob/ob mice, as compared to lean WT littermates. In both strains, obesity was associated with markedly elevated circulating PAI-1 levels, probably originating from the fat tissue. In contrast, PAI-1-deficient lean and obese mice did not display significant differences in MCA occlusion time, infarct volume or ICH. Conclusions: Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 may play a functional role in the deleterious effect of obesity on the outcome of thrombotic ischemic stroke in mice.