Pericytes are required for blood-brain barrier integrity during embryogenesis.

UCSF Department of Anatomy, 513 Parnassus Avenue, HSW1301, San Francisco, California 94143-0452, USA.
Nature (Impact Factor: 42.35). 10/2010; 468(7323):562-6. DOI: 10.1038/nature09513
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Vascular endothelial cells in the central nervous system (CNS) form a barrier that restricts the movement of molecules and ions between the blood and the brain. This blood-brain barrier (BBB) is crucial to ensure proper neuronal function and protect the CNS from injury and disease. Transplantation studies have demonstrated that the BBB is not intrinsic to the endothelial cells, but is induced by interactions with the neural cells. Owing to the close spatial relationship between astrocytes and endothelial cells, it has been hypothesized that astrocytes induce this critical barrier postnatally, but the timing of BBB formation has been controversial. Here we demonstrate that the barrier is formed during embryogenesis as endothelial cells invade the CNS and pericytes are recruited to the nascent vessels, over a week before astrocyte generation. Analysing mice with null and hypomorphic alleles of Pdgfrb, which have defects in pericyte generation, we demonstrate that pericytes are necessary for the formation of the BBB, and that absolute pericyte coverage determines relative vascular permeability. We demonstrate that pericytes regulate functional aspects of the BBB, including the formation of tight junctions and vesicle trafficking in CNS endothelial cells. Pericytes do not induce BBB-specific gene expression in CNS endothelial cells, but inhibit the expression of molecules that increase vascular permeability and CNS immune cell infiltration. These data indicate that pericyte-endothelial cell interactions are critical to regulate the BBB during development, and disruption of these interactions may lead to BBB dysfunction and neuroinflammation during CNS injury and disease.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: eLife digest Organs develop alongside the network of blood vessels that supply them with oxygen and nutrients. One way that new blood vessels grow is by sprouting out of the side of an existing vessel, via a process called angiogenesis. This process relies on signals that are received by the endothelial cells that line the inner wall of blood vessels, and that direct the cells to form a new ‘sprout’, consisting of tip and stalk cells. In the developing brain, the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway helps direct the formation of blood vessels. In this pathway, a member of a protein family called Wnt signals to specific proteins on the surface of the cells lining the blood vessels. Much effort has gone into uncovering the identity of these proteins, with many studies looking at blood vessel development in the brain of mouse embryos. In this study, Vanhollebeke et al. turned to zebrafish embryos to uncover new regulators of angiogenesis and define their roles during the multi-step process of blood vessel development in the brain. A variety of experimental techniques were used to alter and study the activity of different Wnt signaling pathway components. These experiments revealed that the Wnt7a and Wnt7b proteins signal to an endothelial cell membrane protein complex containing the proteins Gpr124 and Reck. Vanhollebeke et al. then created ‘mosaic’ zebrafish embryos, which contained two genetically distinct types of cells—cells that were missing one of the components of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and wild-type cells. Visualizing the growth of the vessels showed that all the new blood vessels that sprouted had normal tip cells. However, the cells in the stalk of the sprout could be either normal or missing a signaling protein. These findings demonstrate that Wnt/β-catenin signaling controls the pattern of blood vessel development in the brain by acting specifically on the invasive behaviors of the tip cells of new sprouts, a cellular mechanism that allows efficient organ-specific control of vascularization. DOI:
    eLife Sciences 06/2015; 4. DOI:10.7554/eLife.06489 · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The chemical and electrical microenvironment of neurons within the central nervous system is protected and segregated from the circulation by the vascular blood-brain barrier. This barrier operates on the level of endothelial cells and includes regulatory crosstalk with neighboring pericytes, astrocytes, and neurons. Within this neurovascular unit, the endothelial cells form a formidable, highly regulated barrier through the presence of inter-endothelial tight junctions, the absence of fenestrations, and the almost complete absence of fluid-phase transcytosis. The potent psychostimulant drug methamphetamine transiently opens the vascular blood-brain barrier through either or both the modulation of inter-endothelial junctions and the induction of fluid-phase transcytosis. Direct action of methamphetamine on the vascular endothelium induces acute opening of the blood-brain barrier. In addition, striatal effects of methamphetamine and resultant neuroinflammatory signaling can indirectly lead to chronic dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier. Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier may exacerbate the neuronal damage that occurs during methamphetamine abuse. However, this process also constitutes a rare example of agonist-induced breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and the adjunctive use of methamphetamine may present an opportunity to enhance delivery of chemotherapeutic agents to the underlying neural tissue.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 05/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00156
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The gastro-intestinal tract is an ecosystem containing trillions of commensal bacteria living in symbiosis with the host. These microbiota modulate a variety of our physiological processes, including production of vitamins, absorption of nutrients and development of the immune system. One of their major functions is to fortify the intestinal barrier, thereby helping to prevent pathogens and harmful substances from crossing into the general circulation. Recently, effects of these microbiota on other blood-tissue barriers have also been reported. Here, we review the evidence indicating that gut bacteria play a role in regulating the blood-brain and blood-testis barriers. The underlying mechanisms include control of the expression of tight junction proteins by fermentation products such as butyrate, which also influences the activity of histone deacetylase. Key Words: Blood-brain barrier, blood-testis barrier, microbiota, tight junctions, intestinal barrier, butyrate, short chain fatty acids.
    05/2015; DOI:10.1080/21688370.2015.1039691


1 Download
Available from