Brain meets body: the blood-brain barrier as an endocrine interface.
ABSTRACT The blood-brain barrier (BBB) separates the central nervous system (CNS) from the peripheral tissues. However, this does not prevent hormones from entering the brain, but shifts the main control of entry to the BBB. In general, steroid hormones cross the BBB by transmembrane diffusion, a nonsaturable process resulting in brain levels that reflect blood levels, whereas thyroid hormones and many peptides and regulatory proteins cross using transporters, a saturable process resulting in brain levels that reflect blood levels and transporter characteristics. Protein binding, brain-to-blood transport, and pharmacokinetics modulate BBB penetration. Some hormones have the opposite effect within the CNS than they do in the periphery, suggesting that these hormones cross the BBB to act as their own counterregulators. The cells making up the BBB are also endocrine like, both responding to circulating substances and secreting substances into the circulation and CNS. By dividing a hormone's receptors into central and peripheral pools, the former of which may not be part of the hormone's negative feed back loop, the BBB fosters the development of variable hormone resistance syndromes, as exemplified by evidence that altered insulin action in the CNS can contribute to Alzheimer's disease. In summary, the BBB acts as a regulatory interface in an endocrine-like, humoral-based communication between the CNS and peripheral tissues.
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ABSTRACT: The clinical features, genetics, pathophysiology, and management of endocrine diseases in which primary hormone resistance is the fundamental defect have been reviewed. Primary hormone resistance has been documented for nearly all hormones--vasopressin, parathyroid hormone, growth hormone, adrenocroticotropin, thyrotropin, gonadotropins, insulin, androgens, cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, thyroid hormones, and vitamin D. A striking exception is estradiol, a steroid that may be vital for early embryonic development. Most of the hormone unresponsiveness syndromes represent only partial defects, and it is likely that most such patients go unrecognized. Therefore, hormone resistance should be suspected not only when a patient presents with hypofunction of particular endocrine system combined with high endogenous hormone levels but also whenever apparently normal function of an endocrine system is associated with inappropriately elevated levels of the corresponding hormone. The value of these defects in hormone responsiveness as a natural laboratory for the study of the normal mechanisms of hormone action is discussed.Metabolism 04/1979; 28(3):253-89. · 3.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: These studies were undertaken to investigate (a) the permeability properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to the major gonadal and adrenal steroid hormones, and (b) the role of the binding proteins of plasma (albumin and specific globulins) in the regulation of BBB steroid hormone transport. The permeability of the BBB to [(3)H]-labeled progesterone, testosterone, estradiol, corticosterone, aldosterone, and cortisol, was measured relative to [(14)C]butanol, a freely diffusable reference, in the barbiturate anesthetized rat using a tissue sampling-single injection technique. The isotopes were rapidly injected in a 200-mul bolus of Ringer's solution (0.1 g/dl albumin) via the common carotid artery and the percent extraction of unidirectional influx of hormone was determined after a single pass through brain: progesterone, 83+/-4%; testosterone, 85+/-1%; estradiol, 83+/-3%; corticosterone, 39+/-2%; aldosterone, 3.5+/-0.8%; and cortisol, 1.4+/-0.3%. The selective permeability of the BBB was inversely related to the number of hydrogen bonds each steroid formed in aqueous solution and directly related to the respective 1-octanol/Ringer's partition coefficient. When the bolus injection was 67% human serum, >95% of the labeled steroid was bound as determined by equilibrium dialysis. However, the influx of the steroids through the BBB was inhibited by human serum to a much less extent than would be expected if only the free (dialyzable) hormone was transported; progesterone, estradiol, testosterone, and corticosterone transport was inhibited 18, 47, 70, and 85% respectively, or in proportion to the steroid binding to plasma globulins. Rat serum (67%) only inhibited the transport of these four hormones, 0, 13, 12, and 69%, respectively, reflecting the absence of a sex hormone-binding globulin in rat plasma. However, neonatal rat serum (67%) inhibited progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol transport 0, 0, and 91%, respectively, consistent with the presence of an estradiol-binding protein in neonatal rat serum. The binding of steroid hormone to bovine albumin in vitro (as determined by equilibrium dialysis) was compared to albumin binding in vivo (as determined by the single injection technique). The ratio of apparent dissociation constant in vivo, K(D)(app), to the in vitro K(D) was: >200 for progesterone, >200 for testosterone, 120 for estradiol, and 7.7 for corticosterone. Assuming the steady-state condition, the K(D)(app)/K(D) was found to be proportional to the BBB permeability for each steroid. These data demonstrate (a) the selective permeability properties of the BBB to the major steroid hormones is proportional to the tendency of the steroid to partition in a polar lipid phase and is inversely related to the number of hydrogen bond-forming functional groups on the steroid nucleus; (b) the presence of albumin in serum may bind considerable quantities of steroid hormone, but exerts little inhibitory effects on the transport of steroids into brain, whereas globulin-bound hormone does not appear to be transported into brain to a significant extent. Therefore, the hormone fraction in plasma that is available for transport into brain is not restricted to the free (dialyzable) fraction, but includes the larger albumin-bound moiety.Journal of Clinical Investigation 07/1979; 64(1):145-54. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Porcine brain extracts were found to stimulate exocrine pancreatic secretion in a secretin-like fashion. The active material may be secretin since it behaved as secretin through several purification steps including chromatography on Sephadex G-25 and carboxymethyl cellulose, and on high performance liquid chromatography. Furthermore, the highly purified preparation contained, like secretin, C-terminal valine amide, and one of its tryptic fragments had the same mobility as the C-terminal tryptic fragment of secretin on thin layer chromatography.Life Sciences 12/1979; 25(20):1703-7. · 2.56 Impact Factor