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      VEGF-mediated disruption of endothelial CLN-5 promotes blood-brain barrier breakdown

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          Abstract

          Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an early and significant event in CNS inflammation. Astrocyte-derived VEGF-A has been implicated in this response, but the underlying mechanisms remain unresolved. Here, we identify the endothelial transmembrane tight junction proteins claudin-5 (CLN-5) and occludin (OCLN) as targets of VEGF-A action. Down-regulation of CLN-5 and OCLN accompanied up-regulation of VEGF-A and correlated with BBB breakdown in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of CNS inflammatory disease. In cultures of brain microvascular endothelial cells, VEGF-A specifically down-regulated CLN-5 and OCLN protein and mRNA. In mouse cerebral cortex, microinjection of VEGF-A disrupted CLN-5 and OCLN and induced loss of barrier function. Importantly, functional studies revealed that expression of recombinant CLN-5 protected brain microvascular endothelial cell cultures from a VEGF-induced increase in paracellular permeability, whereas recombinant OCLN expressed under the same promoter was not protective. Previous studies have shown CLN-5 to be a key determinant of trans-endothelial resistance at the BBB. Our findings suggest that its down-regulation by VEGF-A constitutes a significant mechanism in BBB breakdown.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Pericyte loss and microaneurysm formation in PDGF-B-deficient mice.

          Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-B-deficient mouse embryos were found to lack microvascular pericytes, which normally form part of the capillary wall, and they developed numerous capillary microaneurysms that ruptured at late gestation. Endothelial cells of the sprouting capillaries in the mutant mice appeared to be unable to attract PDGF-Rbeta-positive pericyte progenitor cells. Pericytes may contribute to the mechanical stability of the capillary wall. Comparisons made between PDGF null mouse phenotypes suggest a general role for PDGFs in the development of myofibroblasts.
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            Role of the Flt-1 receptor tyrosine kinase in regulating the assembly of vascular endothelium.

            The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its high-affinity binding receptors, the tyrosine kinases Flt-1 and Flk-1, are thought to be important for the development of embryonic vasculature. Here we report that Flt-1 is essential for the organization of embryonic vasculature, but is not essential for endothelial cell differentiation. Mouse embryos homozygous for a targeted mutation in the flt-1 locus, flt-1lcz, formed endothelial cells in both embryonic and extra-embryonic regions, but assembled these cells into abnormal vascular channels and died in utero at mid-somite stages. At earlier stages, the blood islands of flt-1lcz homozygotes were abnormal, with angioblasts in the interior as well as on the periphery. We suggest that the Flt-1 signalling pathway may regulate normal endothelial cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions during vascular development.
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              Complex phenotype of mice lacking occludin, a component of tight junction strands.

              Occludin is an integral membrane protein with four transmembrane domains that is exclusively localized at tight junction (TJ) strands. Here, we describe the generation and analysis of mice carrying a null mutation in the occludin gene. Occludin -/- mice were born with no gross phenotype in the expected Mendelian ratios, but they showed significant postnatal growth retardation. Occludin -/- males produced no litters with wild-type females, whereas occludin -/- females produced litters normally when mated with wild-type males but did not suckle them. In occludin -/- mice, TJs themselves did not appear to be affected morphologically, and the barrier function of intestinal epithelium was normal as far as examined electrophysiologically. However, histological abnormalities were found in several tissues, i.e., chronic inflammation and hyperplasia of the gastric epithelium, calcification in the brain, testicular atrophy, loss of cytoplasmic granules in striated duct cells of the salivary gland, and thinning of the compact bone. These phenotypes suggested that the functions of TJs as well as occludin are more complex than previously supposed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                PNAS
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                February 10 2009
                February 10 2009
                February 10 2009
                January 27 2009
                : 106
                : 6
                : 1977-1982
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.0808698106
                2644149
                19174516
                © 2009

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