Absence of tight junctions between microvascular endothelial cells in human cerebellar hemangioblastomas

Yizhao Chen, Osamu Tachibana, Mitsuhiro Hasegawa, Ruxiang Xu, Jun Ichiro Hamada, Junkoh Yamashita, Nobuo Hashimoto, Jun A. Takahashi

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17 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Endothelial tight junctions form the main barrier of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In human hemangioblastomas, cyst formation is a common and important clinical manifestation. Although most researchers consider that the cyst formation in hemangioblastomas may be caused by the breakdown of the BBB, the underlying molecular mechanisms for cyst formation remain unknown. At present, there are few reports about the change of tight junctions in microvessel endothelium of human hemangioblastomas. The purpose of this research is to investigate the change of tight junction and its major molecular components in microvessel endothelium of human hemangioblastomas. METHODS: Twenty-four consecutive patients with cerebellar hemangioblastomas were studied. Tight junctions in the microvessels of hemangioblastomas and the control brain were examined by electron microscopy. Immunohistochemistry and double immunofluorescent microscopy were used to analyze the expression of CLN5 and its relationship with astrocytic endfeet in the control brain and hemangioblastomas. Quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blots were used to investigate the expression level of CLN5 in hemangioblastomas. Triple immunofluorescent microscopy was used to analyze the coexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor-R1, and placenta growth factor on microvessels of hemangioblastomas. Clinical and experimental data were correlated and analyzed by the one-way analysis of variance, Kruskal-Wallis test, and Spearman rank correlation test. RESULTS: In the control brain, the paracellular cleft between adjacent endothelial cells is sealed by continuous strands of tight junctions. In cystic hemangioblastomas, a significant paracellular cleft could be found between adjacent endothelial cells. Some endothelial cells were connected with adherens junction and no tight junction was found between them. Compared with the control brain, expression of CLN5 was decreased in cystic hemangioblastomas (P < 0.05). Phosphorylated CLN5 was detected in most hemangioblastomas, but not in the control brain. Microvessels in hemangioblastomas showed a significant absence of astrocytic endfeet. Coexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor-R1, and placenta growth factor was detected in the endothelial cells. The Spearman rank correlation test showed a significant correlation between a greater degree of CLN5 expression and less morphological cystic formation in these patients studied (correlation coefficient = -0.520; P = 0.009). CONCLUSION: The continuity of tight junctions of the BBB is interrupted in human cerebellar hemangioblastomas. Significant absence of astrocytic endfeet and tight junctions can be found in microvessels of hemangioblastomas, which may lead to the breakdown of the BBB in these tumors. These findings suggest that the absence of tight junctions might play a role in cyst formation of hemangioblastomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-669
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 09-2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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