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J Neurochem. 1998 Sep;71(3):1151-7.

Basement membrane proteins influence brain capillary endothelial barrier function in vitro.

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Institut für Biochemie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.


The influence of basement membrane proteins on cellular barrier properties of primary cultures of porcine brain capillary endothelial cells grown on permeable filter inserts has been investigated. Measurements of transcellular electrical resistance (TER) by impedance spectroscopy were performed with cells cultured on type IV collagen, fibronectin, laminin, and one-to-one mixtures of these proteins. Moreover, a one-to-one combination of type IV collagen and SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine) has been studied. Rat tail collagen has been used as a reference substratum. If TERs of cells from a given preparation were low (approximately 350 ohms x cm2) on the reference substratum, type IV collagen, fibronectin, and laminin as well as one-to-one combinations of these proteins elevated transcellular resistances significantly (2.3- to 2.9-fold) compared with rat tail collagen. TER of cells exhibiting a high reference level (approximately 1,000 ohms x cm2) could, by contrast, be increased only 1.1- to 1.2-fold. The type IV collagen/SPARC mixture did not elevate TER. Our findings suggest that type IV collagen, fibronectin, and laminin are involved in tight junction formation between cerebral capillary endothelial cells. The differential effects observed for individual preparations probably reflect more or less dedifferentiated states of the endothelium, in which basement membrane proteins can influence cellular differentiation more or less strongly. However, our results indicate that type IV collagen, fibronectin, and laminin enhance the reliability and suitability of primary microvascular endothelial cell cultures as an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier.

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