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Cell Biochem Funct. 2013 Dec;31(8):668-77. doi: 10.1002/cbf.2953. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Accessibility of low-molecular-mass molecules to the median eminence and arcuate hypothalamic nucleus of adult mouse.

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Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, Nara Medical University840 Shijyo-cho, Kashihara City, Nara, 634-8521, Japan.


Blood-derived molecules are able to access to the median eminence (ME) and arcuate hypothalamic nucleus (Arc) due to the lack of the blood-brain barrier. In the present study, we examined the accessibility of low-molecular-mass (LMM) molecules into parenchyma in the ME and Arc of adult mice by administration of Dextran 3000 (Dex3k), Dex10k, Evans blue (EB) and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC). In the external zone of the ME, the fluorescence of Dex3k, EB and FITC tracers generated an intensity gradient from fenestrated capillary, but that of Dex10k was detected only between the inner and outer basement membrane of pericapillary space. The fluorescence of FITC in the external zone of the ME was closely associated with axonal terminals and surrounded by cellular processes of tanycytes-like cells and astrocytes. In the ependymal/internal zone of the ME and Arc, the fluorescence of all LMM tracers was seen at tanycytes-like cells and neurons. The fluorescence of EB and FITC in these regions was not detected when brains were fixed during or before the administration of tracers. The inhomogeneity of accessibility for fluorescent tracers depended on routes for tracer administration. Thus, the present study indicates that the accessibility of LMM blood-derived molecules to parenchyma depends on fenestration of the capillary in the external zone of the ME and active transport of ependymal cells in the ependymal/internal zone of the ME and Arc.


FITC; blood-brain barrier; circumventricular organ; neurosecretion; tanycytes

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