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Hyaluronan Impairs The Barrier Integrity Of Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cells Through A CD44-dependent Pathway

Abraham Al-Ahmad, Ronak Patel, S. Palecek, E. Shusta
Published 2018 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Hyaluronan (HA) constitutes the most abundant extracellular matrix component during brain development, only to become a minor component rapidly after birth and in adulthood to remain in specified regions. HA signaling has been associated with several neurological disorders, yet the impact of HA signaling at the blood–brain barrier (BBB) function remains undocumented. In this study, we investigated the impact of HA on BBB properties using human-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) -derived and primary human and rat BMECs. The impact of HA signaling on developmental and mature BMECs was assessed by measuring changes in TEER, permeability, BMECs markers (GLUT1, tight junction proteins, P-gp) expression and localization, CD44 expression and hyaluronan levels. In general, HA treatment decreased barrier function and reduced P-gp activity with effects being more prominent upon treatment with oligomeric forms of HA (oHA). Such effects were exacerbated when applied during BMEC differentiation phase (considered as developmental BBB). We noted a hyaluronidase activity as well as an increase in CD44 expression during prolonged oxygen–glucose deprivation stress. Inhibition of HA signaling by antibody blockade of CD44 abrogated the detrimental effects of HA treatment. These results suggest the importance of HA signaling through CD44 on BBB properties.
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