Pharmacology and Therapeutics - Research Publications

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    Developmental changes in the transcriptome of the rat choroid plexus in relation to neuroprotection
    Kratzer, I ; Liddelow, SA ; Saunders, NR ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Strazielle, N ; Ghersi-Egea, J-F (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-08-01)
    BACKGROUND: The choroid plexuses are the interface between the blood and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contained within the ventricular spaces of the central nervous system. The tight junctions linking adjacent cells of the choroidal epithelium create a physical barrier to paracellular movement of molecules. Multispecific efflux transporters as well as drug-metabolizing and antioxidant enzymes functioning in these cells contribute to a metabolic barrier. These barrier properties reflect a neuroprotective function of the choroid plexus. The choroid plexuses develop early during embryogenesis and provide pivotal control of the internal environment throughout development when the brain is especially vulnerable to toxic insults. Perinatal injuries like hypoxia and trauma, and exposure to drugs or toxic xenobiotics can have serious consequences on neurogenesis and long-term development. The present study describes the developmental expression pattern of genes involved in the neuroprotective functions of the blood-CSF barrier. METHODS: The transcriptome of rat lateral ventricular choroid plexuses isolated from fifteen-day-old embryos, nineteen-day old fetuses, two-day old pups, and adults was analyzed by a combination of Affymetrix microarrays, Illumina RNA-Sequencing, and quantitative RT-PCR. RESULTS: Genes coding for proteins involved in junction formation are expressed early during development. Overall perinatal expression levels of genes involved in drug metabolism and antioxidant mechanisms are similar to, or higher than levels measured in adults. A similar developmental pattern was observed for multispecific efflux transporter genes of the Abc and Slc superfamilies. Expression of all these genes was more variable in choroid plexus from fifteen-day-old embryos. A large panel of transcription factors involved in the xenobiotic- or cell stress-mediated induction of detoxifying enzymes and transporters is also expressed throughout development. CONCLUSIONS: This transcriptomic analysis suggests relatively well-established neuroprotective mechanisms at the blood-CSF barrier throughout development of the rat. The expression of many transcription factors early in development raises the possibility of additional protection for the vulnerable developing brain, should the fetus or newborn be exposed to drugs or other xenobiotics.
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    Mechanisms That Determine the Internal Environment of the Developing Brain: A Transcriptomic, Functional and Ultrastructural Approach (vol 8, e65629, 2013)
    Liddelow, SA ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Ek, CJ ; Habgood, MD ; Bauer, H ; Bauer, H-C ; Lindsay, H ; Wakefield, MJ ; Strazielle, N ; Kratzer, I ; Mollgard, K ; Ghersi-Egea, J-F ; Saunders, NR (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2016-01-19)
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    Immune responses at brain barriers and implications for brain development and neurological function in later life
    Stolp, HB ; Liddelow, SA ; Sa-Pereira, I ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Saunders, NR (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2013-01-01)
    For a long time the brain has been considered an immune-privileged site due to a muted inflammatory response and the presence of protective brain barriers. It is now recognized that neuroinflammation may play an important role in almost all neurological disorders and that the brain barriers may be contributing through either normal immune signaling or disruption of their basic physiological mechanisms. The distinction between normal function and dysfunction at the barriers is difficult to dissect, partly due to a lack of understanding of normal barrier function and partly because of physiological changes that occur as part of normal development and ageing. Brain barriers consist of a number of interacting structural and physiological elements including tight junctions between adjacent barrier cells and an array of influx and efflux transporters. Despite these protective mechanisms, the capacity for immune-surveillance of the brain is maintained, and there is evidence of inflammatory signaling at the brain barriers that may be an important part of the body's response to damage or infection. This signaling system appears to change both with normal ageing, and during disease. Changes may affect diapedesis of immune cells and active molecular transfer, or cause rearrangement of the tight junctions and an increase in passive permeability across barrier interfaces. Here we review the many elements that contribute to brain barrier functions and how they respond to inflammation, particularly during development and aging. The implications of inflammation-induced barrier dysfunction for brain development and subsequent neurological function are also discussed.
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    Cellular Specificity of the Blood-CSF Barrier for Albumin Transfer across the Choroid Plexus Epithelium
    Liddelow, SA ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Mollgard, K ; Whish, SC ; Noor, NM ; Wheaton, BJ ; Gehwolf, R ; Wagner, A ; Traweger, A ; Bauer, H ; Bauer, H-C ; Saunders, NR ; Bisser, S (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-09-11)
    To maintain the precise internal milieu of the mammalian central nervous system, well-controlled transfer of molecules from periphery into brain is required. Recently the soluble and cell-surface albumin-binding glycoprotein SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine) has been implicated in albumin transport into developing brain, however the exact mechanism remains unknown. We postulate that SPARC is a docking site for albumin, mediating its uptake and transfer by choroid plexus epithelial cells from blood into cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We used in vivo physiological measurements of transfer of endogenous (mouse) and exogenous (human) albumins, in situ Proximity Ligation Assay (in situ PLA), and qRT-PCR experiments to examine the cellular mechanism mediating protein transfer across the blood-CSF interface. We report that at all developmental stages mouse albumin and SPARC gave positive signals with in situ PLAs in plasma, CSF and within individual plexus cells suggesting a possible molecular interaction. In contrast, in situ PLA experiments in brain sections from mice injected with human albumin showed positive signals for human albumin in the vascular compartment that were only rarely identifiable within choroid plexus cells and only at older ages. Concentrations of both endogenous mouse albumin and exogenous (intraperitoneally injected) human albumin were estimated in plasma and CSF and expressed as CSF/plasma concentration ratios. Human albumin was not transferred through the mouse blood-CSF barrier to the same extent as endogenous mouse albumin, confirming results from in situ PLA. During postnatal development Sparc gene expression was higher in early postnatal ages than in the adult and changed in response to altered levels of albumin in blood plasma in a differential and developmentally regulated manner. Here we propose a possible cellular route and mechanism by which albumin is transferred from blood into CSF across a sub-population of specialised choroid plexus epithelial cells.
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    The inner CSF-brain barrier: developmentally controlled access to the brain via intercellular junctions
    Whish, S ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Mollgard, K ; Noor, NM ; Liddelow, SA ; Habgood, MD ; Richardson, SJ ; Saunders, NR (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2015-02-12)
    In the adult the interface between the cerebrospinal fluid and the brain is lined by the ependymal cells, which are joined by gap junctions. These intercellular connections do not provide a diffusional restrain between the two compartments. However, during development this interface, initially consisting of neuroepithelial cells and later radial glial cells, is characterized by "strap" junctions, which limit the exchange of different sized molecules between cerebrospinal fluid and the brain parenchyma. Here we provide a systematic study of permeability properties of this inner cerebrospinal fluid-brain barrier during mouse development from embryonic day, E17 until adult. Results show that at fetal stages exchange across this barrier is restricted to the smallest molecules (286Da) and the diffusional restraint is progressively removed as the brain develops. By postnatal day P20, molecules the size of plasma proteins (70 kDa) diffuse freely. Transcriptomic analysis of junctional proteins present in the cerebrospinal fluid-brain interface showed expression of adherens junctional proteins, actins, cadherins and catenins changing in a development manner consistent with the observed changes in the permeability studies. Gap junction proteins were only identified in the adult as was claudin-11. Immunohistochemistry was used to localize at the cellular level some of the adherens junctional proteins of genes identified from transcriptomic analysis. N-cadherin, β - and α-catenin immunoreactivity was detected outlining the inner CSF-brain interface from E16; most of these markers were not present in the adult ependyma. Claudin-5 was present in the apical-most part of radial glial cells and in endothelial cells in embryos, but only in endothelial cells including plexus endothelial cells in adults. Claudin-11 was only immunopositive in the adult, consistent with results obtained from transcriptomic analysis. These results provide information about physiological, molecular and morphological-related permeability changes occurring at the inner cerebrospinal fluid-brain barrier during brain development.
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    Editorial: Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Brain Barrier Mechanisms
    Stolp, HB ; Liddelow, SA ; Saunders, NR (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2016-02-16)
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    Age-Dependent Transcriptome and Proteome Following Transection of Neonatal Spinal Cord of Monodelphis domestica (South American Grey Short-Tailed Opossum)
    Saunders, NR ; Noor, NM ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Wheaton, BJ ; Liddelow, SA ; Steer, DL ; Ek, CJ ; Habgood, MD ; Wakefield, MJ ; Lindsay, H ; Truettner, J ; Miller, RD ; Smith, AI ; Dietrich, WD ; Baker, ML (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-06-10)
    This study describes a combined transcriptome and proteome analysis of Monodelphis domestica response to spinal cord injury at two different postnatal ages. Previously we showed that complete transection at postnatal day 7 (P7) is followed by profuse axon growth across the lesion with near-normal locomotion and swimming when adult. In contrast, at P28 there is no axon growth across the lesion, the animals exhibit weight-bearing locomotion, but cannot use hind limbs when swimming. Here we examined changes in gene and protein expression in the segment of spinal cord rostral to the lesion at 24 h after transection at P7 and at P28. Following injury at P7 only forty genes changed (all increased expression); most were immune/inflammatory genes. Following injury at P28 many more genes changed their expression and the magnitude of change for some genes was strikingly greater. Again many were associated with the immune/inflammation response. In functional groups known to be inhibitory to regeneration in adult cords the expression changes were generally muted, in some cases opposite to that required to account for neurite inhibition. For example myelin basic protein expression was reduced following injury at P28 both at the gene and protein levels. Only four genes from families with extracellular matrix functions thought to influence neurite outgrowth in adult injured cords showed substantial changes in expression following injury at P28: Olfactomedin 4 (Olfm4, 480 fold compared to controls), matrix metallopeptidase (Mmp1, 104 fold), papilin (Papln, 152 fold) and integrin α4 (Itga4, 57 fold). These data provide a resource for investigation of a priori hypotheses in future studies of mechanisms of spinal cord regeneration in immature animals compared to lack of regeneration at more mature stages.
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    Mechanisms That Determine the Internal Environment of the Developing Brain: A Transcriptomic, Functional and Ultrastructural Approach
    Liddelow, SA ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Ek, CJ ; Habgood, MD ; Bauer, H ; Bauer, H-C ; Lindsay, H ; Wakefield, MJ ; Strazielle, N ; Kratzer, I ; Mollgard, K ; Ghersi-Egea, J-F ; Saunders, NR ; Deli, MA (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-07-02)
    We provide comprehensive identification of embryonic (E15) and adult rat lateral ventricular choroid plexus transcriptome, with focus on junction-associated proteins, ionic influx transporters and channels. Additionally, these data are related to new structural and previously published permeability studies. Results reveal that most genes associated with intercellular junctions are expressed at similar levels at both ages. In total, 32 molecules known to be associated with brain barrier interfaces were identified. Nine claudins showed unaltered expression, while two claudins (6 and 8) were expressed at higher levels in the embryo. Expression levels for most cytoplasmic/regulatory adaptors (10 of 12) were similar at the two ages. A few junctional genes displayed lower expression in embryos, including 5 claudins, occludin and one junctional adhesion molecule. Three gap junction genes were enriched in the embryo. The functional effectiveness of these junctions was assessed using blood-delivered water-soluble tracers at both the light and electron microscopic level: embryo and adult junctions halted movement of both 286Da and 3kDa molecules into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The molecular identities of many ion channel and transporter genes previously reported as important for CSF formation and secretion in the adult were demonstrated in the embryonic choroid plexus (and validated with immunohistochemistry of protein products), but with some major age-related differences in expression. In addition, a large number of previously unidentified ion channel and transporter genes were identified for the first time in plexus epithelium. These results, in addition to data obtained from electron microscopical and physiological permeability experiments in immature brains, indicate that exchange between blood and CSF is mainly transcellular, as well-formed tight junctions restrict movement of small water-soluble molecules from early in development. These data strongly indicate the brain develops within a well-protected internal environment and the exchange between the blood, brain and CSF is transcellular and not through incomplete barriers.