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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1999 May 14;114(2):161-9.

Developmental expression of ZO-1 antigen in the mouse blood-brain barrier.

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Institute of Human Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, University of Bari, Piazza G. Cesare, 11, Policlinico, I 70124, Bari, Italy.


Tight junction biogenesis during blood-brain barrier development (BBB) in mesencephalon microvessels of mouse embryos of day 9, foetuses of day 15 and 19 and new-born (2-day-old) mice was examined by light and electron microscopy, using monoclonal antibodies recognizing the tight junction peripheral membrane protein ZO-1. A faint spot-like staining began to be recognizable under the light microscope in day 15 vessels in which the endothelial cells showed isolated fusion points between the external plasma membrane leaflets under the electron microscope. A stronger labelling was present in microvessels of day 19 foetuses and new-born animals when the endothelial tight junction appeared completely differentiated. In the immunogold study, gold particles were seen scattered throughout the cytoplasm of endothelial cells of day 15 foetuses. In day 19 foetuses and in the new-born mice, gold particles were located only at the cytoplasmic surfaces of the tight junctions. The results indicate that the ZO-1 protein is a specific molecular marker in the developing brain endothelial tight junctions and that its expression takes place parallel to BBB morphofunctional maturation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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