Mice lacking an anti-inflammatory protein called annexin A1 (ANXA1) exhibit significant decreases in the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, reports a team led by researchers at the Queen Mary, University of London, in England (Cristante E et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi:10.1073/pnas.1209362110 [published online December 31, 2012]).
The investigators also found a significant reduction in circulating ANXA1 in the plasma of patients with multiple sclerosis and a loss of the protein in the cerebral microvasculature of patients who died with the disease. Exposing in vitro cerebrovascular endothelial cells to recombinant ANXA1 restored cellular features (such as cytoskeleton integrity) needed to reinstate the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. Also, giving ANXA1 to mice that lacked the protein decreased leakage through the blood-brain barrier.
Hampton T. Restoring the Blood-Brain Barrier. JAMA. 2013;309(5):431. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.267