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Morphofunctional Aspects of the Blood-Brain Barrier

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) selectively controls the homeostasis of the Central Nervous System (CNS) environment by the specific structural and biochemical features of the endothelial cells, pericytes and glial endfeet, which represent the cellular components of the mature BBB. Endothelial tight junctions (TJs) are the most important structural component of the BBB, and molecular alteration in the phosphorylation state of some TJs proteins, like ZO-1 or occludin, are crucial in determining alterations in the control of BBB vascular permeability. Astrocytes endfeet enveloping the vessels wall, are considered important in the induction and maintenance of the BBB, through secretion of soluble factors, which modulate the expression of enzymatic complexes and antigens by endothelial cells and TJs - associated proteins. Moreover, astrocytes control water flux at BBB site by expressing a specific water channel, namely aquaporin-4 (AQP4), involved in the molecular composition of the orthogonal particles arrays (OAPs) on the perivascular glial endfeet and tightly coupled with the maintenance of the BBB integrity. Disruption of the BBB is a consistent event occurring in the development of several CNS diseases, including demyelinating lesions in the course of relapsing multiple sclerosis, stroke, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), but also mechanical injures, neurological insults, septic encephalopathy, brain tumors, permanent ischemia or transient ischemia followed by reperfusion. In most cases, these pathological conditions are associated with an increase in microvascular permeability, vasogenic edema, swollen atrocyte endfeet, and BBB disruption.

Keywords: Aquaporin-4; Astrocytes; Blood-brain barrier; Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; Endothelium; Pericytes; Tight junctions; occludin; orthogonal particles arrays (OAPs)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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