Studies on mice reveal that a special protein in the brain’s tiniest blood vessels may affect the risk of stroke. Peter Carlsson, professor in genetics at the University of Gothenburg, and his research team are publishing new research findings in the journal Developmental Cell about how the blood-brain barrier develops and what makes the capillaries in the brain different from small blood vessels in other organs.
The brain’s smallest blood vessels differ from those in other organs in that the capillary walls are much more compact. The nerve cells in the brain get the nutrients they need by molecules actively being transported from the blood, instead of passively leaking out from the blood vessels.
Capillaries from a mouse brain (the green cells are endothelial cells and the red ones are pericytes).
University of Gothenburg
This blood-brain barrier is vital, because it enables strict control over the substances with which the brain’s nerve cells come into contact. It has a protective function that if it fails, increases the risk of stroke and other complications.
Special cell type essential to development
The smallest blood vessels, the capillaries, have a type of cell called pericytes. These are essential to the development of the blood-brain barrier. Pericytes are also found in other organs, and researchers have previously been unable to find out what gives the brain’s pericytes this unique ability.
The Gothenburg research team has found that the brain’s pericytes contain a protein, FoxF2, which is not present in the pericytes of other organs, and which coordinates the changes that make the blood vessels compact. FoxF2 is needed in order for the blood-brain barrier to form during foetal development.
“Mice that have too little or too much FoxF2 develop various types of defects in the brain’s blood vessels,” explains Peter Carlsson, professor at the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology.
One gene may play a critical role
In humans, researchers have noted that major changes in a region of chromosome 6 have been associated with an increased risk of stroke, but it has not been known which of the genes in the area are responsible for this risk.
“The FoxF2 gene is an extremely interesting candidate, as it is located right in the middle of this region, and research is under way now in collaboration with clinical geneticists to investigate the extent to which variations in the FoxF2 gene affect people’s risk of suffering a stroke,” says Peter Carlsson.
Link to article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2015.05.008
For further information, please contact: Tel: +46 (0)31-786 3804; Mobile: +46 (0)708-236776; E-mail: email@example.com
Henrik Axlid | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering