The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is critical to maintain cerebral homeostasis. In this study, we examined the effects of exposure to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) on the functional integrity of BBB and, on the localization and expression of tight junction (TJ) proteins (occludin and ZO-1) in rats. Animals were sham or whole-body exposed to EMP at 200 kV/m for 400 pulses. The permeability of BBB in rat cerebral cortex was examined by using Evans Blue (EB) and lanthanum nitrate as vascular tracers. The localization and expression of TJ proteins were assessed by western blot and immunofluorescence analysis, respectively. The data indicated that EMP exposure caused: (i) increased permeability of BBB, and (ii) altered localization as well as decreased levels of TJ protein ZO-1. These results suggested that the alteration of ZO-1 may play an important role in the disruption of tight junctions, which may lead to dysfunction of BBB after EMP exposure.
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