Hypothalamic extract influences a blood-brain barrier model of porcine brain capillary endothelial cells.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of hypothalamic extract, astrocyte coculture, and astrocyte-conditioned medium on the barrier function of an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier. Porcine brain capillary endothelial cells were grown on polycarbonate membranes suspended between two chambers of media, representing the capillary lumen and brain interstitium. Endothelial cells grown alone and cocultured with astrocytes were cultured in growth medium with or without 50 micrograms/mL hypothalamic extract. An additional treatment consisted of endothelial cells cultured in growth medium that was first conditioned by astrocytes. Coculture consisted of a noncontact model with astrocytes attached to the bottom of the abluminal chamber. Barrier function of the endothelial cells was tested on days 1 through 9 post-seeding by measuring permeability to macromolecules (albumin) and small ions (electrical resistance). Resistance to the passage of macromolecules and small ions was greatest for endothelial cells grown without astrocytes in growth medium supplemented with hypothalamic extract. This barrier was maximal during days 4 through 7 post-seeding and was significantly less permeable than the barrier formed by endothelial cells grown in un-supplemented growth medium, in coculture with astrocytes, or in astrocyte-conditioned medium. These results demonstrate that a noncontact coculture with astrocytes did not enhance the integrity of this in vitro BBB model employing porcine brain capillary endothelial cells, but barrier function was increased when the model's medium was supplemented with hypothalamic extract.