Building the blood-brain barrier

Oct 27, 2008

Construction of the brain's border fence is supervised by Wnt/b-catenin signaling, report Liebner et al. in The Journal of Cell Biology.

Like many a modern nation, the brain requires tight border security to maintain levels of nutrients and keep out toxic substances. The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a virtually impermeable network of tight junctions between endothelial cells that prevents paracellular flow of materials. Because Wnt/b-catenin signaling is a major pathway regulating other aspects of brain development, the authors examined its potential role in constructing the BBB.

In brain endothelial cells, Wnt signaling was active during the time of maximum vascular development, but not after the BBB matured. Activation of the Wnt signaling pathway in vivo and in vitro promoted BBB development, and inactivation prevented it. In vitro increasing Wnt signaling also strengthened junctions between non-brain endothelial cells.

This suggests that Wnt signaling might be tweaked to mend the BBBs in patients where it has failed—such as in stroke—or to temporarily open the BBB to deliver drugs that would normally be shut out.

Citation: Liebner, S., et al. 2008. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200806024.

Source: Rockefeller University

Explore further: Human brain has coping mechanism for dehydration

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google made failed bid for Spotify

2 hours ago

Internet titan Google tried last year to buy streaming music service Spotify but backed off for reasons including a whopping price tag, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Thieves got into 1K StubHub accounts

3 hours ago

(AP)—Cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 StubHub customers' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events through the online ticket reseller, a law enforcement official and the company said Tuesday.

Microsoft CEO sees 'bold' plan as 4Q tops Street

3 hours ago

(AP)—Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella painted an upbeat vision of the future Tuesday, saying that the next version of Windows will be unified across screens of all sizes and that two money-losing units—Nokia ...

Recommended for you

Diet affects men's and women's gut microbes differently

4 hours ago

The microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to diet, even when the diets are identical, according to a study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and six other institutions published ...

Researchers explore what happens when heart cells fail

5 hours ago

Through a grant from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Naomi Chesler will embark upon a new collaborative research project to better understand ...

Stem cells from nerves form teeth

8 hours ago

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that stem cells inside the soft tissues of the tooth come from an unexpected source, namely nerves. These findings are now being published in the journal Nature and co ...

User comments : 0