Expression of caveolin-1 in human brain microvessels.
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Caveolae are microinvaginations of the cell plasma membrane involved in cell transport and metabolism as well as in signal transduction; these functions depend on the presence of integral proteins named caveolins in the caveolar frame. In the brain, various caveolin subtypes have been detected in vivo by immunocytochemistry: caveolin-1 and -2 were found in rat brain microvessels, caveolin-3 was revealed in astrocytes. The aim of this study was to identify the site(s) of cellular expression of caveolin-1 in the microvessels of the human cerebral cortex by immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and immunogold electron microscopy. Since in the barrier-provided brain microvessels tight relations occur between the endothelium-pericyte layer and the surrounding vascular astrocytes, double immunostaining with caveolin-1 and the astroglia marker, glial fibrillary acidic protein, was also carried out. Immunocytochemistry by confocal microscopy revealed that caveolin-1 is expressed by endothelial cells and pericytes in all the cortex microvessels; caveolin-1 is also expressed by cells located in the neuropil around the microvessels and identified as astrocytes. Study of the cortex microvessels carried out by immunoelectron microscopy confirmed that in the vascular wall caveolin-1 is expressed by endothelial cells, pericytes, and vascular astrocytes, and revealed the association of caveolin-1 with the cell caveolar compartment. The demonstration of caveolin-1 in the cells of the brain microvessels suggests that caveolin-1 may be involved in blood-brain barrier functioning, and also supports co-ordinated activities between these cells.
Molecular Cell Biology
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Neuroscience, 2002, 115 (1), pp. 145 - 152