Brain capillary endothelial cells (BCECs) form the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in response to interaction with other braincells (astrocytes, pericytes and neurons). BCECs are characterized by tight junctions (TJ), maturation and stabilizationof which require different proteins, such as occludin.When co-cultured with astrocytes and neurons, BCECs were found to form a monolayer resembling the natural BBB:paracellular flux of dopamine and sucrose (i.e. compounds which are unable to cross the BBB in vivo) significantlydecreased (1), while the transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) increased. In these conditions, BCECs produced alarger amount of occludin and tended to localize it at the cell periphery, thus suggesting formation of TJs (1). Since wealso discovered that oligodendroglioma cells shed extracellular membrane vesicles (MVs; 2), we investigated whetheralso neurons and/or astrocytes can release MVs and whether these vesicles contained angiogenic factors. The results ofthese analyses demonstrated that all kinds of brain cells actually shed MVs containing FGF-2 and VEGF (3-4). On thebasis of these findings, we investigated the possibility that the BBB model could be used to study the molecular eventsthat result in BBB damage, in some pathological conditions, such as, for example, multiple sclerosis (5). We are nowinvestigating whether cultured astrocytes shed vesicles containing aquaporin 4 (AQP4), a protein which has beeninvolved in brain edema. Our results suggest that production of AQP4 increases in stressed astrocytes.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2012


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