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Front Cell Neurosci. 2014 Aug 4;8:211. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00211. eCollection 2014.

Astrocytic modulation of blood brain barrier: perspectives on Parkinson's disease.

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Departamento de Nutrición y Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá, D.C., Colombia.
Departamento de Biofunção, Universidade Federal da Bahia Salvador, Brazil.
Instituto Cajal, CSIC Madrid, Spain.
Laboratorio de Citoarquitectura y Plasticidad Neuronal, Facultad de Medicina, Instituto de Investigaciones cardiológicas Prof. Dr. Alberto C. Taquini (ININCA), UBA-CONICET, Buenos Aires Argentina.
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology Area, Group of Neuroscience of Antioquia, Faculty of Medicine, SIU, University of Antioquia UdeA Medellín, Colombia.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a tightly regulated interface in the Central Nervous System (CNS) that regulates the exchange of molecules in and out from the brain thus maintaining the CNS homeostasis. It is mainly composed of endothelial cells (ECs), pericytes and astrocytes that create a neurovascular unit (NVU) with the adjacent neurons. Astrocytes are essential for the formation and maintenance of the BBB by providing secreted factors that lead to the adequate association between the cells of the BBB and the formation of strong tight junctions. Under neurological disorders, such as chronic cerebral ischemia, brain trauma, Epilepsy, Alzheimer and Parkinson's Diseases, a disruption of the BBB takes place, involving a lost in the permeability of the barrier and phenotypical changes in both the ECs and astrocytes. In this aspect, it has been established that the process of reactive gliosis is a common feature of astrocytes during BBB disruption, which has a detrimental effect on the barrier function and a subsequent damage in neuronal survival. In this review we discuss the implications of astrocyte functions in the protection of the BBB, and in the development of Parkinson's disease (PD) and related disorders. Additionally, we highlight the current and future strategies in astrocyte protection aimed at the development of restorative therapies for the BBB in pathological conditions.


BBB; Parkinson disease; astrocytes; endothelial cells; reactive astrogliosis

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