Graduate Researcher, Johns Hopkins University
I am studying the role of mutations that lead to the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease in the development of vasculature in the brain. The goal of this work is to determine if blood vessels located in the brain of individuals with neurodegenerative diseases share commonalities that may explain disease progression, or open an avenue for a new therapy.
Abstract: Brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) are an essential component of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that shields the brain against toxins and immune cells. While BBB dysfunction exists in neurological disorders, including Huntington's disease (HD), it is not known if BMECs themselves are functionally compromised to promote BBB dysfunction. Further, the underlying mechanisms of BBB dysfunction remain elusive given limitations with mouse models and post-mortem tissue to identify primary deficits. We undertook a transcriptome and functional analysis of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived BMECs (iBMEC) from HD patients or unaffected controls. We demonstrate that HD iBMECs have intrinsic abnormalities in angiogenesis and barrier properties, as well as in signaling pathways governing these processes. Thus, our findings provide an iPSC-derived BBB model for a neurodegenerative disease and demonstrate autonomous neurovascular deficits that may underlie HD pathology with implications for therapeutics and drug delivery.
Pub.: 18 May '17, Pinned: 08 Nov '17
Abstract: The endothelial cells that form capillaries in the brain are highly specialized, with tight junctions that minimize paracellular transport and an array of broad-spectrum efflux pumps that make drug delivery to the brain extremely challenging. One of the major limitations in blood-brain barrier research and the development of drugs to treat central nervous system diseases is the lack of appropriate cell lines. Recent reports indicate that the derivation of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMECs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may provide a solution to this problem. Here we demonstrate the derivation of hBMECs extended to two new human iPSC lines: BC1 and GFP-labeled BC1. These hBMECs highly express adherens and tight junction proteins VE-cadherin, ZO-1, occludin, and claudin-5. The addition of retinoic acid upregulates VE-cadherin expression, and results in a significant increase in transendothelial electrical resistance to physiological values. The permeabilities of tacrine, rhodamine 123, and Lucifer yellow are similar to values obtained for MDCK cells. The efflux ratio for rhodamine 123 across hBMECs is in the range 2-4 indicating polarization of efflux transporters. Using the rod assay to assess cell organization in small vessels and capillaries, we show that hBMECs resist elongation with decreasing diameter but show progressive axial alignment. The derivation of hBMECs with a blood-brain barrier phenotype from the BC1 cell line highlights that the protocol is robust. The expression of GFP in hBMECs derived from the BC1-GFP cell line provides an important new resource for BBB research.
Pub.: 14 Apr '16, Pinned: 08 Nov '17
Abstract: The strength of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in providing protection to the central nervous system from exposure to circulating chemicals is maintained by tight junctions between endothelial cells and by a broad range of transporter proteins that regulate exchange between CNS and blood. The most important transporters that restrict the permeability of large number of toxins as well as therapeutic agents are the ABC transporters. Among them, P-gp, BCRP, MRP1 and MRP2 are the utmost studied. These efflux transporters are neuroprotective, limiting the brain entry of neurotoxins; however, they could also restrict the entry of many therapeutics and contribute to CNS pharmacoresistance. Characterization of several regulatory pathways that govern expression and activity of ABC efflux transporters in the endothelium of brain capillaries have led to an emerging consensus that these processes are complex and contain several cellular and molecular elements. Alterations in ABC efflux transporters expression and/or activity occur in several neurological diseases. Here, we review the signaling pathways that regulate expression and transport activity of P-gp, BCRP, MRP1 and MRP2 as well as how their expression/activity changes in neurological diseases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Neuroprotection.
Pub.: 19 Jul '15, Pinned: 08 Nov '17
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