2007 Volume 32 Issue 2 Pages 139-147
In autoimmune disorders of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, breakdown of the blood-nerve barrier (BNB) has been considered as a key step in the disease process. Hence, it is important to know the cellular property of peripheral nerve microvascular endothelial cells (PnMECs) constituting the bulk of BNB. Although many in vitro models of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) have been established, very few in vitro BNB models have been reported so far. We isolated PnMECs from transgenic rats harboring the temperature-sensitive SV40 large T-antigen gene (tsA58 rat) and investigated the properties of these “barrier-forming cells”. Isolated PnMECs (TR-BNBs) showed high transendothelial electrical resistance and expressed tight junction components and various types of influx as well as efflux transporters that have been reported to function at BBB. Furthermore, we confirmed the in vivo expression of various BBB-forming endothelial cell markers in the endoneurium of a rat sciatic nerve. These results suggest that PnMECs constituting the bulk of BNB have a highly specialized characteristic resembling the endothelial cells forming BBB.