Simultaneous activation of several second messengers in hypoxia-induced hyperpermeability of brain derived endothelial cells

Silvia Fischer, Marion Wiesnet, Hugo H Marti, Dieter Renz, Wolfgang Schaper
Journal of Cellular Physiology 2004, 198 (3): 359-69
In vivo, ischemia is known to damage the blood-brain barrier (BBB) leading to the development of vasogenic brain edema. Hypoxia-induced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to be a key regulator of these permeability changes. However, the signaling pathways that underlie VEGF-induced hyperpermeability are incompletely understood. In this study, we demonstrate that hypoxia- and VEGF-induced permeability changes depend on activation of phospholipase Cgamma (PLCgamma), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt (PI3-K/Akt), and protein kinase G (PKG). Inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) and of the protein kinase C (PKC) did not affect permeability at all. Paralleling hypoxia- and VEGF-induced permeability changes, localization of the tight junction proteins occludin, zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), and ZO-2 along the cell membrane changed from a continuous to a more discontinuous expression pattern during hypoxia. In particular, localization of ZO-1 and ZO-2 expression moved from the cell membrane to the cytoplasm and nucleus whereas occludin expression remained at the cell membrane. Inhibition of PLCgamma, PI3-kinase, and PKG abolished these hypoxia-induced changes. These findings demonstrate that hypoxia and VEGF induce permeability through rearrangement of endothelial junctional proteins which involves activation of the PLCgamma and PI3-K/AKT pathway leading to the activation of PKG.

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