- Junctional Adhesion Molecule (JAM)-C Deficient C57BL/6 Mice Develop a Severe Hydrocephalus (2012)
- The junctional adhesion molecule (JAM)-C is a widely expressed adhesion molecule regulating cell adhesion, cell polarity and inflammation. JAM-C expression and function in the central nervous system (CNS) has been poorly characterized to date. Here we show that JAM-C−/− mice backcrossed onto the C57BL/6 genetic background developed a severe hydrocephalus. An in depth immunohistochemical study revealed specific immunostaining for JAM-C in vascular endothelial cells in the CNS parenchyma, the meninges and in the choroid plexus of healthy C57BL/6 mice. Additional JAM-C immunostaining was detected on ependymal cells lining the ventricles and on choroid plexus epithelial cells. Despite the presence of hemorrhages in the brains of JAM-C−/− mice, our study demonstrates that development of the hydrocephalus was not due to a vascular function of JAM-C as endothelial re-expression of JAM-C failed to rescue the hydrocephalus phenotype of JAM-C−/− C57BL/6 mice. Evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation within the ventricular system of JAM-C−/− mice excluded occlusion of the cerebral aqueduct as the cause of hydrocephalus development but showed the acquisition of a block or reduction of CSF drainage from the lateral to the 3rd ventricle in JAM-C−/− C57BL/6 mice. Taken together, our study suggests that JAM-C−/− C57BL/6 mice model the important role for JAM-C in brain development and CSF homeostasis as recently observed in humans with a loss-of-function mutation in JAM-C.
- Brain homeostasis: VEGF receptor 1 and 2—two unequal brothers in mind (2013)
- Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), initially thought to act specifically on the vascular system, exert trophic effects on neural cells during development and adulthood. Therefore, the VEGF system serves as a promising therapeutic target for brain pathologies, but its simultaneous action on vascular cells paves the way for harmful side effects. To circumvent these deleterious effects, many studies have aimed to clarify whether VEGFs directly affect neural cells or if the effects are mediated secondarily via other cell types, like vascular cells. A great number of reports have shown the expression and function of VEGF receptors (VEGFRs), mainly VEGFR-1 and -2, in neural cells, where VEGFR-2 has been described as the major mediator of VEGF-A signals. This review aims to summarize and compare the divergent roles of VEGFR-1 and -2 during CNS development and homeostasis.
- Wnt/beta-catenin signaling controls development of the blood–brain barrier (2008)
- The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is confined to the endothelium of brain capillaries and is indispensable for fluid homeostasis and neuronal function. In this study, we show that endothelial Wnt/beta-catenin (beta-cat) signaling regulates induction and maintenance of BBB characteristics during embryonic and postnatal development. Endothelial specific stabilization of beta-cat in vivo enhances barrier maturation, whereas inactivation of beta-cat causes significant down-regulation of claudin3 (Cldn3), up-regulation of plamalemma vesicle-associated protein, and BBB breakdown. Stabilization of beta-cat in primary brain endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro by N-terminal truncation or Wnt3a treatment increases Cldn3 expression, BBB-type tight junction formation, and a BBB characteristic gene signature. Loss of beta-cat or inhibition of its signaling abrogates this effect. Furthermore, stabilization of beta-cat also increased Cldn3 and barrier properties in nonbrain-derived ECs. These findings may open new therapeutic avenues to modulate endothelial barrier function and to limit the devastating effects of BBB breakdown.
- Differentiation of the brain vasculature : the answer came blowing by the Wnt (2010)
- Vascularization of the vertebrate brain takes place during embryonic development from a preformed perineural vascular plexus. As a consequence of the intimate contact with neuroectodermal cells the vessels, which are entering the brain exclusively via sprouting angiogenesis, acquire and maintain unique barrier properties known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The endothelial BBB depends upon the close association of endothelial cells with pericytes, astrocytes, neurons and microglia, which are summarized in the term neuro-vascular unit. Although it is known since decades that the CNS tissue provides the cues for BBB induction and differentiation in endothelial cells, the molecular mechanism remained obscure. Only recently, the canonical Wnt/beta-catenin pathway and the Wnt7a/7b growth factors have been implicated in brain angiogenesis on the one hand and in BBB induction on the other. This breakthrough in understanding the differentiation of the brain vasculature prompted us to review these findings embedded in the emerging concepts of Wnt signaling in the vasculature. In particular, interactions with other pathways that are crucial for vascular development such as VEGF, Notch, angiopoietins and Sonic hedgehog are discussed. Finally, we considered the potential role of the Wnt pathway in vascular brain pathologies in which BBB function is hampered, as for example in glioma, stroke and Alzheimer's disease.