The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is formed by brain endothelial cells. Many immortalized brain endothelial cell lines have been established; these have been used as in vitro BBB models. The aim of the present study was to assess the paracellular barrier properties of the immortalized mouse brain endothelial cell lines bEND.3, bEND.5 cells, and mouse brain endothelial cell 4 (MBEC4), and those of the primary mouse brain endothelial cells pMBECs. bEND.3 cells showed low permeability to sodium fluorescein and obvious staining of tight junction proteins (claudin-5, occludin and ZO-1) similar to pMBECs; these barrier properties of MBEC4 and bEND.5 cells were low. In addition, bEND.3 cells expressed the highest level of claudin-5 among all cells. These results suggest that bEND.3 cells are a convenient and useful model for evaluating BBB function, especially the paracellular barrier.
2013 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan