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BACKGROUND - HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remains common, despite antiretroviral therapy (ART). HIV dysregulates iron metabolism, but cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of iron and iron-transport proteins in HIV-infected (HIV+) persons are largely unknown. The objectives of this study were to characterize CSF iron-related biomarkers in HIV+ adults and explore their relationships to known predictors of HAND.
METHODS - We quantified total iron, transferrin and heavy-chain (H)-ferritin by immunoassay in CSF sampled by lumbar puncture in 403 HIV+ participants in a multi-center, observational study and evaluated biomarker associations with demographic and HIV-related correlates of HAND [e.g., age, sex, self-reported race/ethnicity, ART, and detectable plasma virus and CSF viral load (VL)] by multivariable regression. In a subset (N = 110) with existing CSF: serum albumin (Q) measurements, Q and comorbidity severity were also included as covariates to account for variability in the blood-CSF-barrier.
RESULTS - Among 403 individuals (median age 43 years, 19% women, 56% non-Whites, median nadir CD4+ T cell count 180 cells/µL, 46% with undetectable plasma virus), men had 25% higher CSF transferrin (median 18.1 vs. 14.5 µg/mL), and 71% higher H-ferritin (median 2.9 vs. 1.7 ng/mL) than women (both p-values ≤0.01). CSF iron was 41% higher in self-reported Hispanics and 27% higher in (non-Hispanic) Whites than in (non-Hispanic) Blacks (median 5.2 and 4.7 µg/dL in Hispanics and Whites, respectively, vs. 3.7 µg/dL in Blacks, both p ≤ 0.01); these findings persisted after adjustment for age, sex, and HIV-specific factors. Median H-ferritin was 25% higher (p < 0.05), and transferrin 14% higher (p = 0.06), in Whites than Blacks. Transferrin and H-ferritin were 33 and 50% higher, respectively, in older (age > 50 years) than in younger persons (age ≤ 35 years; both p < 0.01), but these findings lost statistical significance in subset analyses that adjusted for Q and comorbidity. After these additional adjustments, associations were observed for CSF iron and transferrin with race/ethnicity as well as CSF VL, for transferrin with sex and ART, and for H-ferritin with plasma virus detectability and significant comorbidity (all p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - CSF iron biomarkers are associated with demographic factors, ART, and CSF VL in HIV+ adults. Future studies should investigate a role for CNS iron dysregulation, to which an altered blood-CSF barrier may contribute, in HAND.
BACKGROUND - Due to their ability to limitlessly proliferate and specialize into almost any cell type, human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offer an unprecedented opportunity to generate human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs), which compose the blood-brain barrier (BBB), for research purposes. Unfortunately, the time, expense, and expertise required to differentiate iPSCs to purified BMECs precludes their widespread use. Here, we report the use of a defined medium that accelerates the differentiation of iPSCs to BMECs while achieving comparable performance to BMECs produced by established methods.
METHODS - Induced pluripotent stem cells were seeded at defined densities and differentiated to BMECs using defined medium termed E6. Resultant purified BMEC phenotypes were assessed through trans-endothelial electrical resistance (TEER), fluorescein permeability, and P-glycoprotein and MRP family efflux transporter activity. Expression of endothelial markers and their signature tight junction proteins were confirmed using immunocytochemistry. The influence of co-culture with astrocytes and pericytes on purified BMECs was assessed via TEER measurements. The robustness of the differentiation method was confirmed across independent iPSC lines.
RESULTS - The use of E6 medium, coupled with updated culture methods, reduced the differentiation time of iPSCs to BMECs from thirteen to 8 days. E6-derived BMECs expressed GLUT-1, claudin-5, occludin, PECAM-1, and VE-cadherin and consistently achieved TEER values exceeding 2500 Ω × cm across multiple iPSC lines, with a maximum TEER value of 4678 ± 49 Ω × cm and fluorescein permeability below 1.95 × 10 cm/s. E6-derived BMECs maintained TEER above 1000 Ω × cm for a minimum of 8 days and showed no statistical difference in efflux transporter activity compared to BMECs differentiated by conventional means. The method was also found to support long-term stability of BMECs harboring biallelic PARK2 mutations associated with Parkinson's Disease. Finally, BMECs differentiated using E6 medium responded to inductive cues from astrocytes and pericytes and achieved a maximum TEER value of 6635 ± 315 Ω × cm, which to our knowledge is the highest reported in vitro TEER value to date.
CONCLUSIONS - Given the accelerated differentiation, equivalent performance, and reduced cost to produce BMECs, our updated methods should make iPSC-derived in vitro BBB models more accessible for a wide variety of applications.
BACKGROUND - Understanding blood-brain barrier responses to inflammatory stimulation (such as lipopolysaccharide mimicking a systemic infection or a cytokine cocktail that could be the result of local or systemic inflammation) is essential to understanding the effect of inflammatory stimulation on the brain. It is through the filter of the blood-brain barrier that the brain responds to outside influences, and the blood-brain barrier is a critical point of failure in neuroinflammation. It is important to note that this interaction is not a static response, but one that evolves over time. While current models have provided invaluable information regarding the interaction between cytokine stimulation, the blood-brain barrier, and the brain, these approaches-whether in vivo or in vitro-have often been only snapshots of this complex web of interactions.
METHODS - We utilize new advances in microfluidics, organs-on-chips, and metabolomics to examine the complex relationship of inflammation and its effects on blood-brain barrier function ex vivo and the metabolic consequences of these responses and repair mechanisms. In this study, we pair a novel dual-chamber, organ-on-chip microfluidic device, the NeuroVascular Unit, with small-volume cytokine detection and mass spectrometry analysis to investigate how the blood-brain barrier responds to two different but overlapping drivers of neuroinflammation, lipopolysaccharide and a cytokine cocktail of IL-1β, TNF-α, and MCP1,2.
RESULTS - In this study, we show that (1) during initial exposure to lipopolysaccharide, the blood-brain barrier is compromised as expected, with increased diffusion and reduced presence of tight junctions, but that over time, the barrier is capable of at least partial recovery; (2) a cytokine cocktail also contributes to a loss of barrier function; (3) from this time-dependent cytokine activation, metabolic signature profiles can be obtained for both the brain and vascular sides of the blood-brain barrier model; and (4) collectively, we can use metabolite analysis to identify critical pathways in inflammatory response.
CONCLUSIONS - Taken together, these findings present new data that allow us to study the initial effects of inflammatory stimulation on blood-brain barrier disruption, cytokine activation, and metabolic pathway changes that drive the response and recovery of the barrier during continued inflammatory exposure.
Food intake occurs in bouts or meals, and numerous meal-generated signals have been identified that act to limit the size of ongoing meals. Hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK) are secreted from the intestine as ingested food is being processed, and in addition to aiding the digestive process, they provide a signal to the brain that contributes to satiation, limiting the size of the meal. The potency of CCK to elicit satiation is enhanced by elevated levels of adiposity signals such as insulin. In the present experiments we asked whether CCK and insulin interact at the level of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We first isolated rat brain capillary endothelial cells that comprise the BBB and found that they express the mRNA for both the CCK1R and the insulin receptor, providing a basis for a possible interaction. We then administered insulin intraperitoneally to another group of rats and 15min later administered CCK-8 intraperitoneally to half of those rats. After another 15min, CSF and blood samples were obtained and assayed for immunoreactive insulin. Plasma insulin was comparably elevated above baseline in both the CCK-8 and control groups, indicating that the CCK had no effect on circulating insulin levels given these parameters. In contrast, rats administered CCK had CSF-insulin levels that were more than twice as high as those of control rats. We conclude that circulating CCK greatly facilitates the transport of insulin into the brain, likely by acting directly at the BBB. These findings imply that in circumstances in which the plasma levels of both CCK and insulin are elevated, such as during and soon after meals, satiation is likely to be due, in part, to this newly-discovered synergy between CCK and insulin.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and reduced transport of insulin through the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Reversal of high-fat diet-induced obesity (HFD-DIO) by dietary intervention improves the transport of insulin through the BBB and the sensitivity of insulin in the brain. Although both insulin and estrogen (E2), when given alone, reduce food intake and body weight via the brain, E2 actually renders the brain relatively insensitive to insulin's catabolic action. The objective of these studies was to determine if E2 influences the ability of insulin to be transported into the brain, since the receptors for both E2 and insulin are found in BBB endothelial cells. E2 (acute or chronic) was systemically administered to ovariectomized (OVX) female rats and male rats fed a chow or a high-fat diet. Food intake, body weight and other metabolic parameters were assessed along with insulin entry into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Acute E2 treatment in OVX female and male rats reduced body weight and food intake, and chronic E2 treatment prevented or partially reversed high-fat diet-induced obesity. However, none of these conditions increased insulin transport into the CNS; rather, chronic E2 treatment was associated less-effective insulin transport into the CNS relative to weight-matched controls. Thus, the reduction of brain insulin sensitivity by E2 is unlikely to be mediated by increasing the amount of insulin entering the CNS.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The understanding of manganese (Mn) biology, in particular its cellular regulation and role in neurological disease, is an area of expanding interest. Mn is an essential micronutrient that is required for the activity of a diverse set of enzymatic proteins (e.g., arginase and glutamine synthase). Although necessary for life, Mn is toxic in excess. Thus, maintaining appropriate levels of intracellular Mn is critical. Unlike other essential metals, cell-level homeostatic mechanisms of Mn have not been identified. In this review, we discuss common forms of Mn exposure, absorption, and transport via regulated uptake/exchange at the gut and blood-brain barrier and via biliary excretion. We present the current understanding of cellular uptake and efflux as well as subcellular storage and transport of Mn. In addition, we highlight the Mn-dependent and Mn-responsive pathways implicated in the growing evidence of its role in Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. We conclude with suggestions for future focuses of Mn health-related research.
Selenoprotein P (Sepp1) and its receptor, apolipoprotein E receptor 2 (apoER2), account for brain retaining selenium better than other tissues. The primary sources of Sepp1 in plasma and brain are hepatocytes and astrocytes, respectively. ApoER2 is expressed in varying amounts by tissues; within the brain it is expressed primarily by neurons. Knockout of Sepp1 or apoER2 lowers brain selenium from ∼120 to ∼50 ng/g and leads to severe neurodegeneration and death in mild selenium deficiency. Interactions of Sepp1 and apoER2 that protect against this injury have not been characterized. We studied Sepp1, apoER2, and brain selenium in knockout mice. Immunocytochemistry showed that apoER2 mediates Sepp1 uptake at the blood-brain barrier. When Sepp1(-/-) or apoER2(-/-) mice developed severe neurodegeneration caused by mild selenium deficiency, brain selenium was ∼35 ng/g. In extreme selenium deficiency, however, brain selenium of ∼12 ng/g was tolerated when both Sepp1 and apoER2 were intact in the brain. These findings indicate that tandem Sepp1-apoER2 interactions supply selenium for maintenance of brain neurons. One interaction is at the blood-brain barrier, and the other is within the brain. We postulate that Sepp1 inside the blood-brain barrier is taken up by neurons via apoER2, concentrating brain selenium in them.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) dynamically controls exchange between the brain and the body, but this interaction cannot be studied directly in the intact human brain or sufficiently represented by animal models. Most existing in vitro BBB models do not include neurons and glia with other BBB elements and do not adequately predict drug efficacy and toxicity. Under the National Institutes of Health Microtissue Initiative, we are developing a three-dimensional, multicompartment, organotypic microphysiological system representative of a neurovascular unit of the brain. The neurovascular unit system will serve as a model to study interactions between the central nervous system neurons and the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) compartment, all coupled to a realistic blood-surrogate supply and venous return system that also incorporates circulating immune cells and the choroid plexus. Hence all three critical brain barriers will be recapitulated: blood-brain, brain-CSF, and blood-CSF. Primary and stem cell-derived human cells will interact with a variety of agents to produce critical chemical communications across the BBB and between brain regions. Cytomegalovirus, a common herpesvirus, will be used as an initial model of infections regulated by the BBB. This novel technological platform, which combines innovative microfluidics, cell culture, analytical instruments, bioinformatics, control theory, neuroscience, and drug discovery, will replicate chemical communication, molecular trafficking, and inflammation in the brain. The platform will enable targeted and clinically relevant nutritional and pharmacologic interventions for or prevention of such chronic diseases as obesity and acute injury such as stroke, and will uncover potential adverse effects of drugs. If successful, this project will produce clinically useful technologies and reveal new insights into how the brain receives, modifies, and is affected by drugs, other neurotropic agents, and diseases.
Blood-brain barrier (BBB) models are often used to investigate BBB function and screen brain-penetrating therapeutics, but it has been difficult to construct a human model that possesses an optimal BBB phenotype and is readily scalable. To address this challenge, we developed a human in vitro BBB model comprising brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs), pericytes, astrocytes and neurons derived from renewable cell sources. First, retinoic acid (RA) was used to substantially enhance BBB phenotypes in human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived BMECs, particularly through adherens junction, tight junction, and multidrug resistance protein regulation. RA-treated hPSC-derived BMECs were subsequently co-cultured with primary human brain pericytes and human astrocytes and neurons derived from human neural progenitor cells (NPCs) to yield a fully human BBB model that possessed significant tightness as measured by transendothelial electrical resistance (~5,000 Ωxcm(2)). Overall, this scalable human BBB model may enable a wide range of neuroscience studies.
BACKGROUND - Antiretroviral drugs vary in their central nervous system penetration, with better penetration possibly conferring neurocognitive benefit during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) therapy. The efflux transporter gene ABCB1 is expressed in the blood-brain barrier, and an ABCB1 variant (3435C → T) has been reported to affect ABCB1 expression. The integrase inhibitor raltegravir is a substrate for ABCB1. We examined whether ABCB1 3435C → T affects raltegravir disposition into cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and explored associations with polymorphisms in other membrane transporter genes expressed in the blood-brain barrier.
METHODS - Forty healthy, HIV-negative adults of European descent (20 homozygous for ABCB1 3435 C/C, 20 homozygous for 3435 T/T, each group divided equally between males and females) were given raltegravir 400 mg twice daily for 7 days. With the final dose, plasma was collected for pharmacokinetic analysis at 9 timepoints over 12 hours, and CSF collected 4 hours post dose.
RESULTS - The 4-hour CSF concentration correlated more strongly with 2-hour (r(2)=0.76, P=1.12 x 10(-11)) than 4-hour (r(2)=0.47, P=6.89 x 10(-6)) single timepoint plasma concentration, and correlated strongly with partial plasma area-under-the-curve values (AUC0-4h r(2)=0.86, P=5.15 x 10(-16)). There was no significant association between ABCB1 3435C → T and ratios of CSF-to-plasma AUC or concentration (p>0.05 for each comparison). In exploratory analyses, CSF-to-plasma ratios were not associated with 276 polymorphisms across 16 membrane transporter genes.
CONCLUSIONS - Among HIV-negative adults, CSF raltegravir concentrations do not differ by ABCB1 3435C → T genotype but strongly correlate with plasma exposure.
TRIAL REGISTRATION - ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00729924 http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00729924.