Regulation of blood brain barrier (BBB) integrity is critical for the maintenance of a healthy neural environment, and disruption of the BBB is a common feature in neurological disease. The protein annexin A1 is highly expressed in cerebral microvascular endothelia, where it regulates expression of inter-endothelial tight junction molecules and is required to maintain the permeability barrier to both small molecules and immune cells. Examination of post mortem human tissue from patients with multiple sclerosis revealed the selective and specific loss of annexin A1 from capillary endothelia in otherwise normal appearing tissue, suggesting why a loss of BBB integrity is a feature of multiple sclerosis pathology. Importantly, treatment in vitro and in vivo with annexin A1 was able to restore BBB function, limiting small molecule and immune cell extravasation and suggesting promising new avenues for therapeutic management of multiple sclerosis.
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Dr Simon McArthur
Dept Biomedical Sciences, University of Westminster