The effects of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) on barrier functions were investigated by a blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vitro model comprising a primary culture of rat brain capillary endothelial cells (RBEC). In order to examine the response of the peripheral endothelial cells to HGF, human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC) and human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) were also treated with HGF. HGF decreased the permeability of RBEC to sodium fluorescein and Evans blue albumin, and dose-dependently increased transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) in RBEC. HGF altered the immunochemical staining pattern of F-actin bands and made ZO-1 staining more distinct on the linear cell borders in RBEC. In contrast, HGF increased sodium fluorescein and Evans blue albumin permeability in HMVEC and HUVEC, and decreased TEER in HMVEC. In HMVEC, HGF reduced cortical actin bands and increased stress fiber density, and increased the zipper-like appearance of ZO-1 staining. Western blot analysis showed that HGF significantly increased the amount of ZO-1 and VE-cadherin. HGF seems to act on the BBB to strengthen BBB integrity. These findings indicated that cytoskeletal rearrangement and cell-cell adhesion, such as through VE-cadherin and ZO-1, are candidate mechanisms for the influence of HGF on the BBB. The possibility that HGF has therapeutic significance in protecting the BBB from damage needs to be considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Cell Biology