Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)


Elucidation of mechanism of blood-brain barrier damage for prevention and treatment of vascular dementia

Masaki Ueno, M.D., Ph.D.1)

1)Inflammation Pathology, Department of Pathology and Host Defense, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University

It is well-known that the blood-brain barrier (BBB) plays significant roles in transporting intravascular substances into the brain. The BBB in cerebral capillaries essentially impedes the influx of intravascular compounds from the blood to the brain, while nutritive substances, such as glucose, can be selectively transported through several types of influx transporters in endothelial cells. In the choroid plexus, intravascular substances can invade the parenchyma as fenestrations exist in endothelial cells of capillaries. However, the substances cannot invade the ventricles easily as there are tight junctions between epithelial cells in the choroid plexus. This restricted movement of the substances across the cytoplasm of the epithelial cells constitutes a blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB). In the brain, there are circumventricular organs, in which the barrier function is imperfect in capillaries. Accordingly, it is reasonable to consider that intravascular substances can move in and around the parenchyma of the organs. Actually, it was reported in mice that intravascular substances moved in the corpus callosum, medial portions of the hippocampus, and periventricular areas via the subfornical organs or the choroid plexus. Regarding pathways of intracerebral interstitial and cerebrospinal fluids to the outside of the brain, two representative drainage pathways, or perivascular drainage and glymphatic pathways, are being established. The first is the pathway in a retrograde direction to the blood flow through the basement membrane in walls of cerebral capillaries, the tunica media of arteries, and the vessels walls of the internal carotid artery. The second is in an anterograde direction to blood flow through the para-arterial routes, aquaporin 4-dependent transport through the astroglial cytoplasm, and para-venous routes, and then the fluids drain into the subarachnoid CSF. These fluids are finally considered to drain into the cervical lymph nodes or veins. These clearance pathways may play a role in maintenance of the barrier in the entire brain. Obstruction of the passage of fluids through the perivascular drainage and glymphatic pathways as well as damage of the BBB and BCSFB may induce several kinds of brain disorders, such as vascular dementia. In this review, we focus on the relationship between damage of the barriers and the pathogenesis of vascular dementia and introduce recent findings including our experimental data using animal models.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (1514K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 57: 95|109, 2017)
key words: blood-brain barrier, blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier, perivascular drainage pathway, glymphatic pathway, vascular dementia

(Received: 19-Jan-17)