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Neurosci Res. 1999 Nov;35(2):155-64.

Induction of blood-brain barrier properties in immortalized bovine brain endothelial cells by astrocytic factors.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Resuscitology, Nagoya City University Medical School, Nagoya, Japan.


The blood-brain barrier (B-BB) protects the free passage of substances into the brain and maintains the homeostasis of the central nervous system. It is commonly accepted that astrocytes surrounding brain endothelial cells influence the B-BB formation and the exhibition of B-BB function of capillaries. To begin the in vitro study on the B-BB, it is essential to obtain a homogenous and sufficient supply of brain endothelial cells as well as astrocytes. We thus immortalized the bovine brain endothelial cell (BBEC) by transfection of the SV40 large T antigen and obtained a single clone, t-BBEC-117, which retained the brain endothelial cell phenotype. Astrocyte in co-culture was found to tighten the intercellular contacts of the immortal cells resulting in a reduced L-glucose permeability, and its conditioned medium (CM) augmented a B-BB phenotype, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. Among known astrocytic factors, only fibroblast growth factor-basic (bFGF) could mimic the actions of astrocytes as measured by L-glucose permeability and ALP activity. Moreover, anti-bFGF antibody canceled 90% of ALP activation by astrocyte CM. Basic FGF, however, failed to induce other B-BB phenotypes such as the expressions of multidrug resistance (mdr) and glucose transporter (GLUT-1) genes. These data suggest that bFGF is one of the most plausible astrocytic factors to induce the B-BB properties of immortal brain endothelial cells together with some unknown factors in the astrocyte CM.

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