GDNF restores human blood-nerve barrier function via RET tyrosine kinase-mediated cytoskeletal reorganization

Academic Article


  • Endoneurial microvessels and the perineurium are responsible for maintaining homeostasis in peripheral nerves. Endoneurial endothelial cells form the blood-nerve barrier (BNB). The molecular pathways responsible for endoneurial microvascular barrier formation in humans are not fully understood. We tested the effect of different mitogens on the transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) of confluent primary human endoneurial endothelial cell (pHEndEC) cultures following serum withdrawal (mimicking diffuse endothelial injury) in vitro. We show that glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF, 1. ng/mL) sufficiently induced a maximal 114.2% recovery in TEER over basal conditions 48. h after serum withdrawal. Solute permeability to high molecular weight dextran was reduced by 52.4% following GDNF treatment. GDNF-mediated increase in TEER was dependent on RET tyrosine-kinase signaling pathways and mildly enhanced by cyclic adenosine monophosphate in combination with maximal concentrations of multiple redundant mitogens. There was no significant increase in adherens or tight junction proteins β-catenin, VE-Cadherin, zona occludens-1 and occludin following GDNF treatment. GDNF induced a small increase in total claudin-5 protein expression without significant increase in messenger RNA or modulation in tyrosine phosphorylation following serum withdrawal. Indirect immunocytochemistry revealed membrane relocation of longitudinal F-actin cytoskeletal filaments in pHEndECs following GDNF treatment, resulting in more continuous intercellular contacts that formed adherens and tight junctions. Together, these results demonstrate a sufficient role for GDNF in human BNB recovery following serum withdrawal in vitro, facilitated primarily by endothelial cell cytoskeletal reorganization. These observations provide insights into the regulation of human BNB function during recovery from peripheral nerve injury. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yosef N; Ubogu EE
  • Start Page

  • 298
  • End Page

  • 310
  • Volume

  • 83
  • Issue

  • 3