Inflammatory responses to intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) are potential therapeutic targets. We aimed to quantify molecular markers of inflammation in human brain tissue after ICH compared with controls using meta-analysis.
We searched OVID MEDLINE (1946–) and Embase (1974–) in June 2020 for studies that reported any measure of a molecular marker of inflammation in brain tissue from five or more adults after ICH. We assessed risk of bias using a modified Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (mNOS; mNOS score 0–9; 9 indicates low bias), extracted aggregate data, and used random effects meta-analysis to pool associations of molecules where more than two independent case–control studies reported the same outcome and Gene Ontology enrichment analysis to identify over-represented biological processes in pooled sets of differentially expressed molecules (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews ID: CRD42018110204).
Of 7501 studies identified, 44 were included: 6 were case series and 38 were case–control studies (median mNOS score 4, IQR 3–5). We extracted data from 21 491 analyses of 20 951 molecules reported by 38 case–control studies. Only one molecule (interleukin-1β protein) was quantified in three case–control studies (127 ICH cases vs 41 ICH-free controls), which found increased abundance of interleukin-1β protein after ICH (corrected standardised mean difference 1.74, 95% CI 0.28 to 3.21, p=0.036, I2=46%). Processes associated with interleukin-1β signalling were enriched in sets of molecules that were more abundant after ICH.
Interleukin-1β abundance is increased after ICH, but analyses of other inflammatory molecules after ICH lack replication. Interleukin-1β pathway modulators may optimise inflammatory responses to ICH and merit testing in clinical trials.