Immunogold localization of tight junctional proteins in normal and osmotically-affected rat blood-brain barrier.J Mol Histol. 2004 Jun; 35(5):529-39.JM
The distribution of molecular components of interendothelial tight junctions (TJs) was studied in rat blood-brain barrier (BBB) microvessels, using immunogold cytochemistry applied to electron microscopy. Samples of rat brains, both normal (unaffected) and osmotically-affected (1, 5, and 30 min after intracarotid infusion of 1.8 M L(+)arabinose), were processed for immunocytochemical localization of TJ-specific integral membrane (occludin, JAM-1, claudin-5) and peripheral (ZO-1) protein molecules. In unaffected interendothelial junctions of control rats the immunosignals (represented by gold particles) for occludin and ZO-1 were of highest, whereas for claudin-5 and JAM-1 were of lower density. At 1 min after infusion, no discernible changes in distribution of junction-associated molecules were noted. At 5 min, however, changes were most conspicuous, and they consisted of segmental attenuation of the endothelial lining and dilatation (opening) of some junctional clefts accompanied by the diminution of the density of immunosignals for TJ-specific transmembrane and peripheral proteins. It was paralleled by disorganization of the spatial relation of these molecules to the junctional complexes. After 30 min, many interendothelial junctions appeared to be still open, whereas other junctions were partially or totally closed. In the opened interendothelial junctions the expression of TJ-associated molecules was weaker than in closed junctions. Our observations indicate that the localization and expression of TJ-specific proteins, especially occludin, and in lower degree claudin-5 and JAM-1, together with the peripheral ZO-1 molecules, are affected by osmotic shock. Presumably, some of these proteins (e.g., occludin, claudin-5 and ZO-1) could be considered sensitive indicators of normal and also of disturbed functional state of the BBB.