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Neuroscience. 2004;129(4):935-45.

The role of aquaporin-4 in the blood-brain barrier development and integrity: studies in animal and cell culture models.

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Department of General and Environmental Physiology and Centre of Excellence in Comparative Genomics (CEGBA), University of Bari, via Amendola 165/A, I-70126 Bari, Italy.


Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is the major water channel expressed in brain perivascular astrocyte processes. Although the role of AQP4 in brain edema has been extensively investigated, little information exists regarding its functional role at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The purpose of this work is to integrate previous and recent data regarding AQP4 expression during BBB formation and depending on BBB integrity, using several experimental models. Results from studies on the chick optic tectum, a well-established model of BBB development, and the effect of lipopolysaccharide on the BBB integrity and on perivascular AQP4 expression have been analyzed and discussed. Moreover, data on the BBB structure and AQP4 expression in murine models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy are reviewed. In particular, published results obtained from mdx(3cv) mice have been analyzed together with new data obtained from mdx mice in which all the dystrophin isoforms including DP71 are strongly reduced. Finally, the role of the endothelial component on AQP4 cellular expression and distribution has been investigated using rat primary astrocytes and brain capillary endothelial cell co-cultures as an in vitro model of BBB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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