Distribution of the Blood-Brain Barrier in Heterotopic Brain Transplants and its Relationship to the Lesions of EAE

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is recognized as a barrier to the trafficking of molecules and cellular elements into the central nervous system (CNS). Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) exclusion is used as a measure of BBB integrity. The BBB is altered and becomes permeable during the course of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). Heterotopic brain transplantation into the anterior eye chamber is a technique for studying genetic influences and the role of individual cell types on the development of EAE. Prior to EAE induction, HRP is excluded from the central portion of the transplant, demonstrating an intact BBB. In contrast, HRP localization is found at the periphery of the transplant, suggesting an incomplete barrier. However, EAE lesions typically occur within the more central regions of the transplant, where the BBB is intact, and not at peripherally located “leaky” areas. This suggests that endothelial cells at intact BBB sites may direct trafficking of lymphocytes (gating) into the CNS during the development of EAE, rather than the passive entry of lymphocytes into the CNS through a leaky BBB.

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