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J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Jan 3;102(1):32-43.

Interaction of alpha4-integrin with VCAM-1 is involved in adhesion of encephalitogenic T cell blasts to brain endothelium but not in their transendothelial migration in vitro.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Physiologische und Klinische Forschung, Bad Nauheim, Germany.


Based on the observation that antibodies directed against alpha4-integrin and its counterreceptor VCAM-1 inhibit inflammatory cell recruitment into the central nervous system (CNS) during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), it has been concluded that alpha4-integrin/VCAM-1 interaction plays a critical role in T cell interaction with the blood-brain barrier (BBB) endothelium. In order to define the exact role of alpha4-integrin and VCAM-1 in T cell recruitment across the BBB endothelium we set up in vitro studies, where we investigated the interaction of freshly activated autoaggressive T cell blasts with the brain endothelial cell line bEnd5. A large panel of blocking antibodies directed against the alpha4-, beta1- and beta7-integrin subunits or against the alpha4beta7-heterodimer and against endothelial VCAM-1 significantly reduced adhesion of encephalitogenic T cell blasts to brain endothelium. However, the very same antibodies did not influence transendothelial migration of autoaggressive T cell blasts across a bEnd5 monolayer. Our in vitro observations, therefore, suggest that in vivo alpha4/VCAM-1 interactions are not involved in transendothelial migration of encephalitogenic T cells across the BBB but rather mediate earlier steps of T cell/BBB-interaction such as firm adhesion.

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