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J Neurochem. 1997 Mar;68(3):991-1000.

Lysophosphatidic acid increases tight junction permeability in cultured brain endothelial cells.

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Eisai London Research Laboratories Ltd., University College London, England.


Brain capillary endothelial cells are coupled by a continuous belt of complex high-electrical-resistance tight junctions that are largely responsible for the blood-brain barrier. We have investigated mechanisms regulating tight junction permeability in brain endothelial cells cultured to maintain high-resistance junctions. The phospholipid lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) was found to cause a rapid, reversible, and dose-dependent decrease in transcellular electrical resistance in brain endothelial cells. LPA also increased the paracellular flux of sucrose, which, together with the resistance decrease, indicated increased tight junction permeability. Activation of protein kinase C attenuated the effect of LPA, suggesting that it was mediated by activation of a signalling pathway. LPA did not cause any obvious relocalization of adherens junction- or tight junction-associated proteins. However, it did stimulate the formation of stress fibres, the recruitment of focal adhesion components, and the appearance of tyrosine phosphorylated protein at focal contacts. Our study shows that LPA is a modulator of tight junction permeability in brain endothelial cells in culture and raises the possibility that it triggers blood-brain barrier permeability changes under (patho)physiological conditions.

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