The roles of caveolin-1 (cav-1) in regulating blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability are unclear yet. We previously reported that cav-1 was down-regulated and the production of nitric oxide (NO) induced the loss of cav-1 in focal cerebral ischemia and reperfusion injury. The present study aims to address whether the loss of cav-1 impacts on BBB permeability and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) activity during cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury. We found that focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion down-regulated the expression of cav-1 in isolated cortex microvessels, hippocampus, and cortex of ischemic brain. The down-regulation of cav-1 was correlated with the increased MMP-2 and -9 activities, decreased tight junction (TJ) protein zonula occludens (ZO)-1 expression and enhanced BBB permeability. Treatment of N(G) -nitro-L-arginine methyl ester [L-NAME, a non-selective nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor] reserved the expression of cav-1, inhibited MMPs activity, and reduced BBB permeability. To elucidate the roles of cav-1 in regulating MMPs and BBB permeability, we used two approaches including cav-1 knockdown in cultured brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) in vitro and cav-1 knockout (KO) mice in vivo. Cav-1 knockdown remarkably increased MMPs activity in BMECs. Meanwhile, with focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion, cav-1 deficiency mice displayed higher MMPs activities and BBB permeability than wild-type mice. Interestingly, the effects of L-NAME on MMPs activity and BBB permeability was partly reversed in cav-1 deficiency mice. These results, when taken together, suggest that cav-1 plays important roles in regulating MMPs activity and BBB permeability in focal cerebral ischemia and reperfusion injury. The effects of L-NAME on MMPs activity and BBB permeability are partly mediated by preservation of cav-1.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Neurochemistry © 2011 International Society for Neurochemistry.