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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Oct;283(4):H1531-7. Epub 2002 Jun 13.

Blood-brain barrier tight junctions are altered during a 72-h exposure to lambda-carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson 85724, USA.


In this study, we examined the effect of lambda-carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain on the functional and structural properties of the rat blood-brain barrier (BBB) over a 72-h time period. Systemic inflammation was induced by an intraplantar injection of 3% lambda-carrageenan into the right hind paw of female Sprague-Dawley rats. In situ brain perfusion and Western blot analyses were performed at 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h. In situ brain perfusion showed lambda-carrageenan significantly increased brain uptake of [(14)C]sucrose at 1, 3, 6, and 48 h (139 +/- 9%, 166 +/- 19%, 138 +/- 13%, and 146 +/- 7% compared with control, respectively). Capillary depletion analysis insured the increased brain uptake was due to increased BBB permeability and not vascular trapping. Western blot analyses for zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin were performed on isolated cerebral microvessels. ZO-1 expression was significantly increased at 1, 3, and 6 h and returned to control expression levels by 12 h. Total occludin expression was significantly reduced at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 48 h. This investigation demonstrated that lambda-carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain elicits a biphasic increase in BBB permeability with the first phase occurring from 1-6 h and the second phase occuring at 48 h. Furthermore, changes in BBB function are correlated with altered tight junctional protein expression of occludin and ZO-1. Changes in the structure of tight junctions may have important clinical ramifications concerning central nervous system homeostasis and therapeutic drug delivery.

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