BackgroundIntracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), a devastating subtype of stroke, is associated with high mortality and morbidity. Neuroinflammation is an important factor leading to ICH-induced neurological injuries. C-C Chemokine Receptor 4 (CCR4) plays an important role in enhancing hematoma clearance after ICH. However, it is unclear whether CCR4 activation can ameliorate neuroinflammation and apoptosis of neurons following ICH. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of recombinant CCL17 (rCCL17)-dependent CCR4 activation on neuroinflammation and neuronal apoptosis in an intrastriatal autologous blood injection ICH model, and to determine whether the PI3K/AKT/Foxo1 signaling pathway was involved.MethodsTwo hundred twenty-six adult (8-week-old) male CD1 mice were randomly assigned to sham and ICH surgery groups. An intrastriatal autologous blood injection ICH model was used. rCCL17, a CCR4 ligand, was delivered by intranasal administration at 1 h, 3 h, and 6 h post-ICH. CCL17 antibody was administrated by intraventricular injection at 1 h post-ICH. C021, a specific inhibitor of CCR4 and GDC0068, an AKT inhibitor were delivered intraperitoneally 1 h prior to ICH induction. Brain edema, neurobehavioral assessments, western blotting, Fluoro-Jade C staining, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling, and immunofluorescence staining were conducted.ResultsEndogenous expression of CCL17 and CCR4 were increased following ICH, peaking at 5 days post-induction. CCR4 was found to co-localize with microglia, neurons, and astrocytes. rCCL17 treatment decreased brain water content, attenuated short- and long-term neurological deficits, deceased activation of microglia/macrophages and infiltration of neutrophils, and inhibited neuronal apoptosis in the perihematomal region post-ICH. Moreover, rCCL17 treatment post-ICH significantly increased the expression of CCR4, PI3K, phosphorylated AKT, and Bcl-2, while Foxo1, IL-1β, TNF-α, and Bax expression were decreased. The neuroprotective effects of rCCL17 were reversed with the administration of C021 or GDC0068.ConclusionsrCCL17-dependent CCR4 activation ameliorated neurological deficits, reduced brain edema, and ameliorated neuroinflammation and neuronal apoptosis, at least in part, through the PI3K/AKT/Foxo1 signaling pathway after ICH. Thus, activation of CCR4 may provide a promising therapeutic approach for the early management of ICH.