Astrocytic contribution of endothelial cell monolayer permeability was examined in two bloodbrain barrier (BBB) models, using the coculture in a double chamber system: rat astrocytes and bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) or bovine brain endothelial cells (BBECs). In system 1, where astrocytes were separated from endothelial cells, a 40% reduction in L-glucose permeability of the BBEC monolayer, but not the BAEC monolayer, was observed by cocultivation with astrocytes. Although several passages of BBEC in culture elicited morphological transformation from spindle-shapes to cobblestone-like features, the passaged BBECs remained responsive to astrocytes in coculture in system 1 (37% reduction of the L-glucose permeability). By contrast, in system 2, where respective endothelial cells and astrocytes layered on the upper and lower surfaces of a membrane, the permeability of both BAEC and BBEC monolayers was reduced by cocultivation with astrocytes (75% reduction for BAEC and 40% reduction for BBEC). BAECs in this contiguous coculture (system 2) with astrocytes showed numerous tight junction-like structures characteristic of the BBB in vivo. These results suggest that primary cultured BBECs, which had been primed by astrocytes in vivo, retain a higher sensitivity to astrocytes possibly through an astrocytic soluble factor (s) to exhibit BBB-specific phenotypes, and that even BAEC from extra-neural tissues, when cultured with astrocytes in close proximity in vitro, may acquire the similar phenotypes and serve for an extensive use of BBB model in vitro.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology