Mounting evidence indicates that methamphetamine causes blood-brain barrier damage, with emphasis on endothelial cells. The role of pericytes in methamphetamine-induced BBB damage remains unknown. Our study demonstrated that methamphetamine increased the migration of pericytes from the endothelial basement membrane. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying this process remain poorly understood. Thus, we examined the molecular mechanisms involved in methamphetamine-induced pericyte migration. The results showed that exposure of C3H/10T1/2 cells and HBVPs to methamphetamine increased PUMA expression via activation of the sigma-1 receptor, MAPK and Akt/PI3K pathways. Moreover, methamphetamine treatment resulted in the increased migration of C3H/10T1/2 cells and HBVPs. Knockdown of PUMA in pericytes transduced with PUMA siRNA attenuated the methamphetamine-induced increase in cell migration through attenuation of integrin and tyrosine kinase mechanisms, implicating a role of PUMA in the migration of C3H/10T1/2 cells and HBVPs. This study has demonstrated that methamphetamine-mediated pericytes migration involves PUMA up-regulation. Thus, targeted studies of PUMA could provide insights to facilitate the development of a potential therapeutic approach for alleviation of methamphetamine-induced pericyte migration.Graphical abstract:
Exposure of pericytes to methamphetamine leads to activation of the MAPK and PI3K/Akt pathways, with downstream activation of PUMA, leading to enhanced pericyte migration. Knockdown of PUMA expression inhibited integrin β1 and β3 expression, as well as tyrosine kinase phosphorylation, and subsequently decreased pericyte migration.