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      Astrocyte–endothelial interactions at the blood–brain barrier

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      Nature Reviews Neuroscience

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          The blood-brain barrier, which is formed by the endothelial cells that line cerebral microvessels, has an important role in maintaining a precisely regulated microenvironment for reliable neuronal signalling. At present, there is great interest in the association of brain microvessels, astrocytes and neurons to form functional 'neurovascular units', and recent studies have highlighted the importance of brain endothelial cells in this modular organization. Here, we explore specific interactions between the brain endothelium, astrocytes and neurons that may regulate blood-brain barrier function. An understanding of how these interactions are disturbed in pathological conditions could lead to the development of new protective and restorative therapies.

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          Most cited references 148

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          The blood-brain barrier/neurovascular unit in health and disease.

          The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the regulated interface between the peripheral circulation and the central nervous system (CNS). Although originally observed by Paul Ehrlich in 1885, the nature of the BBB was debated well into the 20th century. The anatomical substrate of the BBB is the cerebral microvascular endothelium, which, together with astrocytes, pericytes, neurons, and the extracellular matrix, constitute a "neurovascular unit" that is essential for the health and function of the CNS. Tight junctions (TJ) between endothelial cells of the BBB restrict paracellular diffusion of water-soluble substances from blood to brain. The TJ is an intricate complex of transmembrane (junctional adhesion molecule-1, occludin, and claudins) and cytoplasmic (zonula occludens-1 and -2, cingulin, AF-6, and 7H6) proteins linked to the actin cytoskeleton. The expression and subcellular localization of TJ proteins are modulated by several intrinsic signaling pathways, including those involving calcium, phosphorylation, and G-proteins. Disruption of BBB TJ by disease or drugs can lead to impaired BBB function and thus compromise the CNS. Therefore, understanding how BBB TJ might be affected by various factors holds significant promise for the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases.
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            Neurovascular regulation in the normal brain and in Alzheimer's disease.

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              Mechanisms, challenges and opportunities in stroke.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Neuroscience
                Nat Rev Neurosci
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-003X
                1471-0048
                January 2006
                January 2006
                : 7
                : 1
                : 41-53
                Article
                10.1038/nrn1824
                16371949
                © 2006

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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