Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating form of stroke with a high mortality rate and few treatment options. Discovery of therapeutic interventions has been slow given the challenges associated with studying acute injury, particularly over time, in the human brain. Inflammation induced by exposure of brain tissue to blood appears to be a major part of brain tissue injury. Here we longitudinally profiled blood and cerebral hematoma effluent from a patient enrolled in the Minimally Invasive Surgery with Thrombolysis in Intracerebral Haemorrhage Evacuation (MISTIEIII) trial, offering a rare window into the local and systemic immune responses to acute brain injury. Using single-cell RNA-sequencing, we characterized the local cellular response during ICH in the brain of a living patient at single-cell resolution for the first time. Our analysis revealed rapid shifts in the activation states of myeloid and T cells in the brain over time, suggesting that leukocyte responses are dynamically reshaped by the hematoma microenvironment. Interestingly, the patient had an asymptomatic re-bleed (second local exposure to blood) that our transcriptional data indicated occurred more than 30 hours prior to detection by CT scan. This case highlights the rapid immune dynamics in the brain after ICH and suggests that sensitive methods like scRNA-seq can inform our understanding of complex intracerebral events.
Leukocyte dynamics after intracerebral hemorrhage in a living patient reveal rapid adaptations to tissue milieu