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J Neurochem. 2004 May;89(4):939-50.

Uptake and transport of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and HDL-associated alpha-tocopherol by an in vitro blood-brain barrier model.

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria.


The present study aimed to investigate pathways that contribute to uptake and transcytosis of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) and HDL-associated alpha-tocopherol (alpha TocH) across an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In primary porcine brain capillary endothelial cells HDL-associated alpha TocH was taken up in 10-fold excess of HDL holoparticles, indicating efficient selective uptake, a pathway mediated by scavenger receptor class B, type I (SR-BI). SR-BI was present in caveolae of brain capillary endothelial cells and expressed almost exclusively at the apical membrane. Disruption of caveolae with methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (CDX) resulted in (mis)sorting of SR-BI to the basolateral membrane. Immunohistochemistry of porcine brain cryosections revealed SR-BI expression on brain capillary endothelial cells and presumably astrocytic endfeet. HDL-associated [(14)C]alpha TocH taken up by brain capillary endothelial cells was recovered in sucrose gradient fractions containing the majority of cellular caveolin-1, the major caveolae-associated protein. During mass transfer studies using alpha TocH-enriched HDL, approximately 50% of cellular alpha TocH was recovered with the bulk of cellular caveolin-1 and SR-BI. Efflux experiments revealed that a substantial amount of cell-associated [(14)C]alpha TocH could be mobilized into the culture medium. In addition, apical-to-basolateral transport of HDL holoparticles and HDL-associated alpha TocH was saturable. Results from the present study suggest that part of cerebral apolipoprotein A-I and alpha TocH originates from plasma HDL transcytosed across the BBB and that caveolae-located SR-BI facilitates selective uptake of HDL-associated alpha TocH at the BBB.

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