Blood-brain barrier alterations in the cerebral cortex in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Mariella Errede, Francesco Girolamo, Giovanni Ferrara, Maurizio Strippoli, Sara Morando, Valentina Boldrin, Marco Rizzi, Antonio Uccelli, Roberto Perris, Caterina Bendotti, Mario Salmona, Luisa Roncali, Daniela Virgintino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathophysiology of cerebral cortical lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) is not understood. We investigated cerebral cortex microvessels during immune-mediated demyelination in the MS model chronic murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by immunolocalization of the endothelial cell tight junction (TJ) integral proteins claudin-5 and occludin, a structural protein of caveolae, caveolin-1, and the blood-brain barrier-specific endothelial transporter, Glut 1. In EAE-affected mice, there were areas of extensivesubpial demyelination and well-demarcated lesions that extended to deeper cortical layers. Activation of microglia and absence of perivascular inflammatory infiltrates were common in these areas. Microvascular endothelial cells showed increased expression of caveolin-1 and a coincident loss of both claudin-5 and occludin normal junctional staining patterns. At a very early disease stage, claudin-5 molecules tended to cluster and form vacuoles that were also Glut 1 positive; the initially preserved occludin pattern became diffusely cytoplasmic at more advanced stages. Possible internalization of claudin-5 on TJ dismantling was suggested by its coexpression with the autophagosomal marker MAP1LC3A. Loss of TJ integrity was confirmed by fluorescein isothiocyanate- dextran experimentsthat showed leakage of the tracer into the perivascular neuropil. These observations indicate that, in the cerebral cortex of EAE-affected mice, there is a microvascular disease that differentially targets claudin-5 and occludin during ongoing demyelination despite only minimal inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-854
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Cerebral cortex demyelination
  • Claudin-5
  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • Inflammation
  • Occludin
  • Oligodendrocyte precursor cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Blood-brain barrier alterations in the cerebral cortex in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this