Article

Brain Meets Body: The Blood-Brain Barrier as an Endocrine Interface

Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.64). 07/2012; 153(9):4111-9. DOI: 10.1210/en.2012-1435
Source: PubMed

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.

2 Followers
 · 
126 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), including stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and brain tumors, are the world’s leading causes of disability. Delivery of drugs to the CNS is complicated by the blood-brain barriers that protect the brain from the unregulated leakage and entry of substances, including proteins, from the blood. Yet proteins represent one of the most promising classes of therapeutics for the treatment of CNS diseases. Many strategies for overcoming these obstacles are in development, but the relatively straightforward approach of bypassing these barriers through direct intrathecal administration has been largely overlooked. Originally discounted because of its lack of usefulness for delivering small, lipid-soluble drugs to the brain, the intrathecal route has emerged as a useful, in some cases perhaps the ideal, route of administration for certain therapeutic protein and targeted disease combinations. Here, we review blood-brain barrier functions and cerebrospinal fluid dynamics and their relevance to drug delivery via the intrathecal route, discuss animal and human studies that have investigated intrathecal delivery of protein therapeutics, and outline several characteristics of protein therapeutics that can allow them to be successfully delivered intrathecally.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2014.05.009 · 7.75 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The specificity of estrogen signaling in brain is defined at one level by the types and distributions of receptor molecules that are activated by estrogens. At another level, as our understanding of the neurobiology of the estrogen synthetic enzyme aromatase has grown, questions have emerged as to how neuroactive estrogens reach specific target receptors in functionally relevant concentrations. Here we explore the spatial specificity of neuroestrogen signaling with a focus on studies of songbirds to provide perspective on some as-yet unresolved questions. Studies conducted in both male and female songbirds have helped to clarify these interesting facets of neuroestrogen physiology.
    General and Comparative Endocrinology 09/2014; 205. DOI:10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.03.043 · 2.67 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We previously showed that short-term hypo- and hyperthyroidism induce changes in neuropeptide glutamic-acid-isoleucine amide (NEI) concentrations in discrete brain areas in male rats. To investigate the possible effects of hypo- and hyperthyroidism on NEI concentrations mainly in hypothalamic areas related to reproduction and behavior, female rats were sacrificed at different days of the estrous cycle. Circulating luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol and progesterone concentrations were measured in control, hypothyroid (hypoT, treated with PTU during 7-9 days) and hyperthyroid (hyperT, L-T4 during 4-7 days) animals. Both treatments blunted the LH surge. Hypo- and hyperthyroidism increased estradiol concentrations during proestrus afternoon (P-PM), although hypoT rats showed lower values compared to control during proestrus morning (P-AM). Progesterone levels were higher in all groups at P-PM and in the hyperT during diestrus morning (D2). NEI concentrations were lower in hypoT rats during the estrous cycle except in estrus (E) in the peduncular part of the lateral hypothalamus (PLH). They were also reduced by both treatments in the perifornical part of the lateral hypothalamus (PeFLH) during P-PM. Hypothyroidism led to higher NEI concentrations during P-PM in the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis and anteroventral periventricular nucleus (OVLT+AVPV). The present results indicate that NEI concentration is regulated in a complex manner by hypo- and hyperthyroidism in the different areas studied, suggesting a correlation between NEI values and the variations of gonadal steroid levels during estrous cycle. These changes could be, in part, responsible for the alterations observed in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in these pathologies.
    Peptides 09/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.peptides.2013.08.016 · 2.61 Impact Factor