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J Neuroendocrinol. 2002 Apr;14(4):283-93.

Cerebral endothelial cells are a major source of adrenomedullin.

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Department of Physiology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.


Adrenomedullin is a peptide hormone with multifunctional biological properties. Its most characteristic effects are the regulation of circulation and the control of fluid and electrolyte homeostasis through peripheral and central nervous system actions. Although adrenomedullin is a vasodilator of cerebral vasculature, and it may be implicated in the pathomechanism of cerebrovascular diseases, the source of adrenomedullin in the cerebral circulation has not been investigated thus far. We measured the secretion of adrenomedullin by radioimmunoassay and detected adrenomedullin mRNA expression by Northern blot analysis in primary cultures of rat cerebral endothelial cells (RCECs), pericytes and astrocytes. We also investigated the expression of specific adrenomedullin receptor components by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and intracellular cAMP concentrations in RCECs and pericytes. RCECs had approximately one magnitude higher adrenomedullin production (135 +/- 13 fmol/10(5) cells per 12 h; mean +/- SD, n = 10) compared to that previously reported for other cell types. RCECs secreted adrenomedullin mostly at their luminal cell membrane. Adrenomedullin production was not increased by thrombin, lipopolysaccharide or cytokines, which are known inducers of adrenomedullin release in peripheral endothelial cells, although it was stimulated by astrocyte-derived factors. Pericytes had moderate, while astrocytes had very low basal adrenomedullin secretion. In vivo experiments showed that adrenomedullin plasma concentration in the jugular vein of rats was approximately 50% higher than that in the carotid artery or in the vena cava. Both RCECs and pericytes, which are potential targets of adrenomedullin in cerebral microcirculation, expressed adrenomedullin receptor components, and exhibited a dose-dependent increase in intracellular cAMP concentrations after exogenous adrenomedullin administration. Antisense oligonucleotide treatment significantly reduced adrenomedullin production by RCECs and tended to decrease intraendothelial cAMP concentrations. These findings may suggest an important autocrine and paracrine role for adrenomedullin in the regulation of cerebral circulation and blood-brain barrier functions. Cerebral endothelial cells are a potential source of adrenomedullin in the central nervous system, where adrenomedullin can also be involved in the regulation of neuroendocrine functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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