Inflammation is a key factor in a number of neurodegenerative diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus. The complement system is an important mechanism in initiating and amplifying inflammation. Our recent studies demonstrate that C5a, a protein fragment generated during complement activation could alter the blood-brain barrier integrity, and thereby disturb the brain microenvironment. To understand the mechanism by which this occurs, we examined the effects of C5a on apoptosis, translocation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κb) and the expression of Iκbα, MAPK, CREB and TJ protein, zona occludens (ZO-1) in mouse brain endothelial cells. Apoptosis was examined by DNA laddering and caspase 3 activity and the distribution of the ZO-1 and the p65 subunit of NF-κB were determined by immunofluorescence. Inhibition of CD88 reduced translocation of NF-κb into the nucleus, altered ZO-1 at the interfaces of neighboring cells, decreased caspase 3 activity and prevented apoptosis in these cells. Our results indicate that signaling through CD88 regulates the blood-brain barrier in a NF-κb-dependent manner. These studies suggest that the C5a receptor, CD88 is a promising therapeutic target that will reduce NF-κb-signaling cascades in inflammatory settings.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Neurochemistry © 2011 International Society for Neurochemistry.