[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AIMS: Sporadic inclusion body myositis (s-IBM) is characterized by rimmed vacuole formation and misfolded protein accumulation. Intracellular protein aggregates are cleared by autophagy. When autophagy is blocked aggregates accumulate, resulting in abnormal rimmed vacuole formation. This study investigated the autophagy-lysosome pathway contribution to rimmed vacuole accumulation. METHODS: Autophagy was studied in muscle biopsy specimens obtained from 11 s-IBM patients, 1 suspected hereditary IBM patient, 9 patients with other inflammatory myopathies and 9 non myopathic patients as controls. The analysis employed morphometric methods applied to immunohistochemistry using the endosome marker Clathrin, essential proteins of the autophagic cascade such as AuTophaGy-related protein ATG5, splicing variants of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3a (LC3a) and LC3b, compared with Beclin 1, the major autophagy regulator of both the initiation phase and late endosome/lysosome fusion of the autophagy-lysosome pathway. RESULTS: In muscle biopsies of s-IBM patients, an increased expression of Clathrin, ATG5, LC3a, LC3b and Beclin 1 was shown. Moreover, the inflammatory components of the disease, essentially lymphocytes, were preferentially distributed around the Beclin 1+ myofibres. These affected myofibres also showed a moderate sarcoplasmic accumulation of SMI-31+ phospho-tau paired helical filaments. CONCLUSION: The overexpression of autophagy markers linked to the decreased clearance of misfolded proteins, including SMI-31, and rimmed vacuoles accumulation may exhaust cellular resources and lead to cell death.
Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 03/2013; · 4.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigates glio-vascular interactions in human fetal brain at midgestation, specifically examining the expression and immunolocalization of the CXCL12/CXCR4/CXCR7 ligand-receptor axis and its possible role in the vascular patterning of the developing brain. At midgestation, the telencephalic vesicles are characterized by well developed radial glia cells (RGCs), the first differentiated astrocytes and a basic vascular network mainly built of radial vessels. RGCs have been recognized to contribute to cerebral cortex neuro-vascular architecture and have also been demonstrated to act as a significant source of neural cells (Rakic, Brain Res 33:471-476, 1971; Malatesta et al, Development 127:5253-5263, 2000). According to our hypothesis CXCL12, a potent migration and differentiation chemokine released by RGCs, may act as a linking factor coordinating neuroblast migration with vessel growth and patterning through the activation of different ligand/receptor axes. The obtained results support this hypothesis showing that together with CXCR4/CXCR7-reactive neuroblasts, which migrate in close association with CXCL12 RGCs, layer-specific subsets of CXCL12 RGCs and astrocytes specifically contact the microvessel wall. Moreover, the CXCL12/CXCR4/CXCR7 system appears to be directly involved in microvessel growth, its members being differentially expressed in angiogenically activated microvessels and vascular sprouts.
Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease 01/2013; · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During human foetal brain vascularization, activated CD31(+)/CD105(+) endothelial cells are characterized by the emission of filopodial processes which also decorate the advancing tip of the vascular sprout. Together with filopodia, both the markers also reveal a number of plasma membrane-derived microvesicles (MVs) which are concentrated around the tip cell tuft of processes. At this site, MVs appear in tight contact with endothelial filopodia and follow these long processes, advancing into the surrounding neuropil to a possible cell target. These observations suggest that, like shedding vesicles of many other cell types that deliver signalling molecules and play a role in cell-to-cell communication, MVs sent out from endothelial tip cells could be involved in tip cell guidance and/or act on target cells, regulating cell-to-cell mutual recognition during vessel sprouting and final anastomosis. The results also suggest a new role for tip cell filopodia as conveyor processes for transporting MVs far from the cell of origin in a controlled microenvironment. Additional studies focused on the identification of MV content are needed to ultimately clarify the significance of tip cell MVs during human brain vascularization.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathophysiology of cerebral cortical lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) is not understood. We investigated cerebral cortex microvessels during immune-mediated demyelination in the MS model chronic murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by immunolocalization of the endothelial cell tight junction (TJ) integral proteins claudin-5 and occludin, a structural protein of caveolae, caveolin-1, and the blood-brain barrier-specific endothelial transporter, Glut 1. In EAE-affected mice, there were areas of extensive subpial demyelination and well-demarcated lesions that extended to deeper cortical layers. Activation of microglia and absence of perivascular inflammatory infiltrates were common in these areas. Microvascular endothelial cells showed increased expression of caveolin-1 and a coincident loss of both claudin-5 and occludin normal junctional staining patterns. At a very early disease stage, claudin-5 molecules tended to cluster and form vacuoles that were also Glut 1 positive; the initially preserved occludin pattern became diffusely cytoplasmic at more advanced stages. Possible internalization of claudin-5 on TJ dismantling was suggested by its coexpression with the autophagosomal marker MAP1LC3A. Loss of TJ integrity was confirmed by fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran experiments that showed leakage of the tracer into the perivascular neuropil. These observations indicate that, in the cerebral cortex of EAE-affected mice, there is a microvascular disease that differentially targets claudin-5 and occludin during ongoing demyelination despite only minimal inflammation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experimentally induced autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice provides an animal model that shares many features with human demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). To what extent the cerebral cortex is affected by the process of demyelination and how the corollary response of the oligodendrocyte lineage is explicated are still not completely known aspects of EAE. By performing a detailed in situ analysis of expression of myelin and oligodendrocyte markers we have identified areas of subpial demyelination in the cerebral cortex of animals with conventionally induced EAE conditions. On EAE-affected cerebral cortices, the distribution and relative abundance of cells of the oligodendrocyte lineage were assessed and compared with control mouse brains. The analysis demonstrated that A2B5(+) glial restricted progenitors (GRPs) and NG2(+)/PDGFR-α(+) oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) were increased in number during "early" disease, 20 days post MOG immunization, whereas in the "late" disease, 39 days post-immunization, they were strongly diminished, and there was an accompanying reduction in NG2(+)/O4(+) pre-oligodendrocytes and GST-π mature oligodendrocytes. These results, together with the observed steady-state amount of NG2(-)/O4(+) pre-myelinating oligodendrocytes, suggested that oligodendroglial precursors attempted to compensate for the progressive loss of myelin, although these cells appeared to fail to complete the last step of their differentiation program. Our findings confirm that this chronic model of EAE reproduces the features of neocortex pathology in progressive MS and suggest that, despite the proliferative response of the oligodendroglial precursors, the failure to accomplish final differentiation may be a key contributing factor to the impaired remyelination that characterizes these demyelinating conditions.
Neurobiology of Disease 06/2011; 43(3):678-89. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of stem cells resident in the adult central nervous system has redirected the focus of research into demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, mainly affecting the brain white matter. This immunocytochemical and morphometrical study was carried out by confocal microscopy in the adult mouse cerebral cortex, with the aim of analysing, in the brain grey matter, the characteristics of the oligodendrocyte lineage cells, whose capability to remyelinate is still controversial. The observations demonstrated the presence in all the cortex layers of glial restricted progenitors, reactive to A2B5 marker, oligodendrocyte precursor cells, expressing the NG2 proteoglycan, and pre-oligodendrocytes and pre-myelinating oligodendrocytes, reactive to the specific marker O4. NG2 expressing cells constitute the major immature population of the cortex, since not only oligodendrocyte precursor cells and pre-oligodendrocytes but also a part of the glial restrict progenitors express the NG2 proteoglycan. Together with the population of these immature cells, a larger population of mature oligodendrocytes was revealed by the classical oligodendrocyte and myelin markers, 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase, myelin basic protein and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein. The results indicate that oligodendrocyte precursors committed to differentiate into myelin forming oligodendrocytes are present through all layers of the adult cortex and that their phenotypic features exactly recall those of the oligodendroglial lineage cells during development.
Italian journal of anatomy and embryology = Archivio italiano di anatomia ed embriologia 01/2010; 115(1-2):95-102.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aggrecan is a component of the CNS extracellular matrix (ECM) and we show here that the three primary alternative spliced transcripts of the aggrecan gene found in cartilage are also present in the adult CNS. Using a unique panel of core protein-directed antibodies against human aggrecan we further show that different aggrecan isoforms are deposited in perineuronal nets (PNNs) and neuropil ECM of Brodmann's area 6 of the human adult cerebral cortex. According to their distribution pattern, the identified cortical aggrecan isoforms were subdivided into five clusters spanning from cluster 1, comprised isoforms that appeared widespread throughout the cortex, to cluster 5, which was an aggrecan-free subset. Comparison of brain and cartilage tissues showed a different relative abundance of aggrecan isoforms, with cartilage-specific isoforms characterizing cluster 5, and PNN-associated isoforms lacking keratan sulphate chains. In the brain, isoforms of cluster 1 were disclosed in PNNs surrounding small-medium interneurons of layers II-V, small-medium pyramidal neurons of layers III and V and large interneurons of layer VI. Aggrecan PNNs enveloped both neuron bodies and neuronal processes, encompassing pre-terminal nerve fibres, synaptic boutons and terminal processes of glial cells and aggrecan was also observed in continuous 'coats' associated with satellite, neuron-associated cells of a putative glial nature. Immunolabelling for calcium-binding proteins and glutamate demonstrated that aggrecan PNNs were linked to defined subsets of cortical interneurons and pyramidal cells. We suggest that in the human cerebral cortex, discrete, layer-specific PNNs are assembled through the participation of selected aggrecan isoforms that characterize defined subsets of cortical neurons.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 03/2009; 13(9B):3151-73. · 4.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Samples of lymph nodes from 88 patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL) grouped by the Working Formulation (WF) and from 15 patients with benign lymphadenopathies were investigated immunohistochemically and ultrastructurally for changes in angiogenesis and stromal distribution of two subendothelial basement membrane (BM) components, namely laminin and type IV collagen. The microvessel number was usually low in lymphadenopathies, and increased significantly in low-grade B-NHL. Intermediate-grade tumors displayed a further significant increase that was mainly due to their diffuse subtypes rather than to the follicular subtype. High-grade B-NHL showed the highest counts. By contrast with the lymphadenopathies studied, the stroma of B-NHL reacted intensely with both BM components, whose linear co-expression was significantly associated with low-grade and follicular intermediate-grade B-NHL, while expression of laminin alone in a granular pattern was detected in diffuse intermediate-grade and high-grade tumors. Ultrastructural analysis revealed immature vessels more frequently in diffuse intermediate-grade, and in high-grade B-NHL. These in situ data suggest that angiogenesis occurring in B-NHL increases along their progression path, and emphasize the importance of angiogenesis as an epigenetic phenomenon of B-NHL progression.
European Journal Of Haematology 01/2009; 56(1-2):45-53. · 2.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumour growth is angiogenesis-dependent. We found a high correlation between the extent of bone marrow angiogenesis, evaluated as microvessel area, and the proliferating (S-phase) fraction of marrow plasma cells, evaluated as labelling index (LI), in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) and in those with monoclonal gammopathies of undetermined significance (MGUS). Angiogenesis itself was significantly associated with active as opposed to non-active MM and MGUS. The highest microvessel area accompanied rapidly progressive MM with the highest LI. When a cut-off value of 2% or greater of the microvessel area was used, most patients with active MM were classified correctly. The risk of active disease in patients with MM increased in parallel with the microvessel area. A causal relationship between plasma cell growth, activity phase in MM and marrow angiogenesis is suggested. Since angiogenesis proceeds in step with the enlargement of plasma cell tumours and the activity phase in MM, its measurement could be a useful prognostic marker in patients with plasma cell proliferative disorders.
British Journal of Haematology 10/2008; 87(3):503 - 508. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During brain development and blood-brain barrier (BBB) differentiation the expression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) may complement the protective function of the placental barrier against xenobiotic substances. To establish an immunohistochemical procedure for P-gp detection, different anti-P-gp monoclonal antibodies were first tested on a fibrosarcoma cell line and colonic carcinoma tissue. The protocol was then tested on adult human brains as a BBB-P-gp tissue-specific control and for double labeling with anti-P-gp and the astroglia marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The protocol was then used to analyze the expression and localization of P-gp in human fetuses during cerebral cortex formation. At the earliest examined stage, 12 weeks of gestation (wg), P-gp was detectable as diffuse cytoplasmic labeling of the endothelial cells lining the primary cortex microvessels. At 18 wg, a punctate P-gp staining pattern was detected on cortex and subcortical vessels and on their side branches. At 22 wg, P-gp staining was linear and concentrated on endothelial cell membranes. In all examined ages, GFAP-positive radial glial cells and astrocytes did not stain for P-gp, even at their perivascular processes, whereas faint P-gp labeling was seen on vimentin-reactive radial glia at the earliest examined fetal age. At midgestation, P-gp colocalized with caveolin-pY14 on the abluminal endothelial cell membrane. These results demonstrate that P-gp is expressed early during human cerebral cortical microvessel development, and suggest that at midgestation there may be efflux activity that is regulated by interactions with the caveolar endothelial cell compartment.
Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 02/2008; 67(1):50-61. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) metabolic and structural alterations of the central nervous system are described. Here, we investigated in the brain of 10 mdx mice and in five control ones, the expression of hypoxia inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) and we correlated it with the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) and of the endothelial tight junction proteins zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and claudin-1. Results showed an activation of mRNA HIF-1alpha by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and a strong HIF1-alpha labeling of perivascular glial cells and cortical neurons by immunohistochemistry, in mdx mouse. Moreover, overexpression of VEGF and VEGFR-2, respectively, in neurons and in endothelial cells coupled with changes to endothelial ZO-1 and claudin-1 expression in the latter were detected by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry, in the mdx brain. Furthermore, by immunoprecipitation, an up-phosphorylation of ZO-1 was demonstrated in mdx endothelial cells in parallel with the reduction in ZO-1 protein content. These data suggest that the activation of HIF-1alpha in the brain of dystrophic mice coupled with VEGF and VEGFR-2 up-regulation and ZO-1 and claudin-1 rearrangement might contribute to both blood-brain barrier opening and increased angiogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to better understand the process of angiogenesis in the developing human brain, we have examined the spatial relationship and relative contributions of endothelial cells and pericytes, the two primary cell types involved in vessel growth, together with their relation with the vascular basement membrane. Pericytes were immunolocalized through use of the specific markers nerve/glial antigen 2 (NG2) proteoglycan, endosialin (CD248) and the platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-beta), while endothelial cells were identified by the pan-endothelial marker CD31 and the blood brain barrier (BBB)-specific markers claudin-5 and glucose transporter isoform 1 (GLUT-1). The quantitative analysis demonstrates that microvessels of the fetal human telencephalon are characterized by a continuous layer of activated/angiogenic NG2 pericytes, which tightly invest endothelial cells and participate in the earliest stages of vessel growth. Immunolabelling with anti-active matrix metalloproteinase-2 (aMMP-2) and anti-collagen type IV antibodies revealed that aMMP-2 producing endothelial cells and pericytes are both associated with the vascular basement membrane during vessel sprouting. Detailed localization of the two vascular cell types during angiogenesis suggests that growing microvessels of the human telencephalon are formed by a pericyte-driven angiogenic process in which the endothelial cells are preceded and guided by migrating pericytes during organization of the growing vessel wall.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The granular layer of the cerebellar cortex is composed of two groups of neurons, the granule neurons and the so-called large neurons. These latter include the neuron of Golgi and a number of other, lesser known neuron types, generically indicated as non-traditional large neurons. In the last few years, owing to the development of improved histological and histochemical techniques for studying morphological and chemical features of these neurons, some non-traditional large neurons have been morphologically well characterized, namely the neuron of Lugaro, the synarmotic neuron, the unipolar brush neuron, the candelabrum neuron and the perivascular neuron. Some types of non-traditional large neurons may be involved in the modulation of cortical intrinsic circuits, establishing connections among neurons distributed throughout the cortex, and acting as inhibitory interneurons (i.e., Lugaro and candelabrum neurons) or as excitatory ones (i.e., unipolar brush neuron). On the other hand, the synarmotic neuron could be involved in extrinsic circuits, projecting to deep cerebellar nuclei or to another cortex regions in the same or in a different folium. Finally, the perivascular neuron may intervene in the intrinsic regulation of the cortex microcirculation.
European journal of histochemistry: EJH 02/2007; 51 Suppl 1:59-64. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain edema and severe alterations of the glial and endothelial cells have recently been demonstrated in the dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse, an experimental model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and an increase in microvessel density in patients affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy has also been shown. In order to further elucidate the mechanisms underlying the angiogenetic processes occurring in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, in this study we analyzed matrix-metalloproteinase-2 and -9 expression in the brain of 20-month-old mdx and control mice by means of immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, immunoblotting and gelatin zymography. Moreover, we studied vascular endothelial growth factor expression by means of Western blot and immunohistochemistry, and by dual immunofluorescence using anti-vascular endothelial growth factor and anti matrix-metalloproteinase-2 and-9 antibodies. Ultrastructural features of the brain choroidal plexuses were evaluated by electron microscopy. Spatial relationships between endothelium and astrocyte processes were studied by confocal laser microscopy, using an anti-CD31 antibody as a marker of endothelial cells, and anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) as a marker of glial cells. The results demonstrate that high expression of matrix-metalloproteinase-2 and matrix-metalloproteinase-9 protein content occurs in mdx brain and in choroidal plexuses where, by in situ hybridization, matrix-metalloproteinase-2 and matrix-metalloproteinase-9 mRNA was localized in the epithelial cells. Moreover, matrix-metalloproteinase-2 mRNA was found in both mdx perivascular astrocytes and blood vessels, while matrix-metalloproteinase-9 mRNA was localized in mdx vessels. Through zymography, increased expression of matrix-metalloproteinase-2 and matrix-metalloproteinase-9 was found in mdx brain compared with the controls. These enhanced matrix-metalloproteinase levels in mdx mice were found to be associated with increased vascular endothelial growth factor expression, as determined by immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry and with ultrastructural alterations of the mdx choroidal epithelial cells and brain vessels, as previously reported [Nico B, Frigeri A, Nicchia GP, Corsi P, Ribatti D, Quondamatteo F, Herken R, Girolamo F, Marzullo A, Svelto M, Roncali L (2003) Severe alterations of endothelial and glial cells in the blood-brain barrier of dystrophic mdx mice. Glia 42:235-251]. Indeed, in the mdx epithelial cells of the plexuses, the apical microvilli were located on the lateral membranes, whereas in the controls they were uniformly distributed over the free ventricular surface. Moreover, by dual immunofluorescence, a colocalization of vascular endothelial growth factor and matrix-metalloproteinase-2 and matrix-metalloproteinase-9 was found in the ependymal and epithelial cells of plexuses in mdx mice and, under confocal laser microscopy, mdx CD-31 positive vessels were enveloped by less GFAP-positive astrocyte processes than the controls. Overall, these data point to a specific pathogenetic role of matrix-metalloproteinase-2 and matrix-metalloproteinase-9 in neurological dysfunctions associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies on the effects of the epichlorohydrin (ECH) epoxide demonstrated this compound's toxicity and mutagenicity and suggested a carcinogenic activity also in humans. To gain a better understanding of ECH effects in vivo, the substance was tested on developing tissues utilizing the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay.
Gelatin sponges adsorbed with ECH were implanted onto nine-day CAMs. After five days the membranes were fixed, cut in serial sections, and stained with toluidine blue. Sections of the ECH-treated CAMs were also submitted to immunocytochemistry for the basal lamina glycoprotein laminin and the gap junction protein connexin 43 (Cx43). Control CAMs were treated with saline solution and submitted to identical procedures.
ECH-treated CAMs displayed proliferation of both the epithelial layers and the mesenchyme cells and vessels. The laminin immunolabeling was interrupted beneath the ectoderm thickenings, which penetrated the mesenchyme. The endoderm showed papilloma-like formations and its laminin-positive basal membrane protruded toward the mesenchyme, together with clusters of endodermal cells. The mesenchyme showed increased numbers of cells and microvessels. These reactions were restricted to regions corresponding to the implant. Cx43 expression was strongly decreased in the ECH-treated CAMs compared with the controls, where the connexin punctate pattern regularly decorated the epithelial cell contours.
The study confirms that ECH elicits tissue proliferation at the contact site and corroborates the suggestion of an ECH carcinogenic effect due to hallmarks of tumoral growth, such as angiogenesis, basal membrane alterations, and loss of intercellular communication via gap junctions.
Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research 02/2006; 12(1):BR21-27. · 1.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article reviews recent studies on the alterations occurring in the brain vessel wall of the mdx mouse, an animal model with genetic defects in a region homologous with the human Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene. These alterations affect both endothelial and astroglial cells and are associated with opened tight junctions, swollen perivascular astrocyte processes and a reduction in the expression of tight junctions associated proteins, ie. zonula occludens and of a specific water channel i.e. aquaporin-4, suggesting that some neurological dysfunctions of mdx mice and DMD patients could be associated with changes in brain osmotic equilibrium.
Current Neurovascular Research 02/2005; 2(1):47-54. · 2.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study, undertaken with the aim of further investigating the effects of methylmercury (MeHg) exposure on the developing brain, was performed in the cerebellum of chick embryos, chronically treated with a MeHgCl solution dropped onto the chorioallantoic membrane, and in control embryo cerebella. Quantitative evaluations, performed by cold vapour atomic absorption spectrophotometry, demonstrated a high mercury content in the chorioallantoic membrane, encephalon, liver and kidney of the treated embryos. The morphological observations showed severe neuronal damage consisting of degenerative changes of the granules and Purkinje neurons. The effects on astrocytes were even more severe, since they were extremely rare both in the neuropil and around the vessel wall. Compared with the controls, the cerebellar vessels of MeHg-treated embryos showed immature morphology, poor differentiation of endothelial barrier devices, and high permeability to the exogenous protein horseradish peroxidase. These findings support the hypothesis that MeHg-related neuronal sufferance may be secondary to astrocytic damage and suggest that the developmental neurotoxicity of this compound could also be related to astrocyte loss-dependent impairment of blood-brain barrier (BBB) differentiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The involvement of the metalloprotease-2 (MMP-2) in vessel development was investigated in the human telencephalon by double immunoreactions with antibodies to the enzyme, latent (proMMP-2) and active (aMMP-2) forms, and an antibody against collagen type IV, a constitutive component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the vessel basal lamina. MMP-2 is expressed in both 12- and 18-week telencephalic vessels, the proenzyme being mainly localised in endothelial cells and the active form prevailing in alpha-actin-reactive periendothelial cells identified as pericytes. Endothelial cells intensely positive for aMMP-2 were revealed in some microvessels and appeared locally associated with discontinuities of the collagen basal lamina. No detectable expression of MMP-2 was observed in perivascular glial processes revealed by vimentin/glial fibrillary acidic protein immunostainings. Double immunoreactions performed to further investigate telencephalon angiogenesis have demonstrated that both the endothelial cells and pericytes strongly express vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Taken together, the results indicate that MMP-2 is largely involved in human brain angiogenesis and suggest that endothelial cells and pericytes tightly interplay in both angiogenesis mechanisms, by ECM proteolysis, and angiogenesis regulation, by local (autocrine/juxtacrine) VEGF action.