An immortalized human blood-nerve barrier endothelial cell line for in vitro permeability studies

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Mar;33(2):175-86. doi: 10.1007/s10571-012-9882-7. Epub 2012 Oct 27.


Solute and macromolecular transport studies may elucidate nutritional requirements and drug effects in healthy and diseased peripheral nerves. Endoneurial endothelial cells are specialized microvascular cells that form the restrictive blood-nerve barrier (BNB). Primary human endoneurial endothelial cells (pHEndECs) are difficult to isolate, limiting their widespread availability for biomedical research. We developed a simian virus-40 large T-antigen (SV40-LTA) immortalized human BNB cell line via stable transfection of low passage pHEndECs and observed continuous growth in culture for >45 population doublings. As observed with pHEndECs, the immortalized BNB endothelial cells were Ulex Europaeus agglutinin-1-positive and endocytosed low density lipoprotein, but lost von Willebrand factor expression. Glucose transporter-1, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GT), large neutral amino acid transporter-1 (LAT-1), creatine transporter (CRT), and monocarboxylate transporter-1 (MCT-1) mRNA expression were retained at all passages with loss of alkaline phosphatase (AP) expression after passages 16-20. Compared with an SV40-LTA immortalized human blood-brain barrier endothelial cell line, there was increased γ-GT protein expression, equivalent expression of organic anion transporting polypeptide-C (OATP-C), organic anion transporter 3 (OAT-3), MCT-1, and LAT-1, and reduced expression of AP, CRT, and P-gp by the BNB cell line at passage 20. Further studies demonstrated lower transendothelial electrical resistance (~181 vs. 191 Ω cm(2)), equivalent permeability to fluoresceinated sodium (4.84 vs. 4.39 %), and lower permeability to fluoresceinated high molecular weight (70 kDa) dextran (0.39 vs. 0.52 %) by the BNB cell line. This cell line retained essential molecular and biophysical properties suitable for in vitro peripheral nerve permeability studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / cytology
  • Blood-Nerve Barrier / cytology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Line, Transformed / cytology*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Electric Impedance
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nerves / cytology


  • Membrane Transport Proteins