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Brain Res. 1999 Dec 18;851(1-2):215-20.

Brain endothelial cell production of a neuroprotective cytokine, interleukin-6, in response to noxious stimuli.

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Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


Brain endothelial cells (BECs), specialized cells of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), are ideally positioned to monitor and respond to events in the periphery. The present study examined their potential role in transducing immune signals to the brain and in responding to noxious stimuli. BECs were isolated from rhesus monkeys at 3 age points (fetal/neonatal, adult, and very old animals). Cells were then challenged in vitro with either an immune stimulus (interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) or an oxidative challenge (hypoxia). BECs released interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is known to have neurotrophic and neuroprotective functions. Furthermore, higher amounts of IL-6 were released in both baseline and stimulated conditions by BECs derived from aged animals. This research indicates a pathway whereby immune signals may be communicated to the CNS and has revealed one way that the BBB may protect neuronal survival under challenge conditions.

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