Pericytes play pivotal roles in physiological and pathophysiological conditions in the central nervous system. As pericytes prevent vascular leakage, they can halt neuronal damage stemming from a compromised blood-brain barrier. Therefore, pericytes may be a good target for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, although evidence is lacking. In this study, we show that prostacyclin attenuates lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC)-mediated vascular dysfunction through pericyte protection in the adult mouse spinal cord. LPC decreased the number of pericytes in an in vitro blood-brain barrier model, and this decrease was prevented by iloprost treatment, a prostacyclin analog. Intrathecal administration of iloprost attenuated vascular barrier disruption after LPC injection in the mouse spinal cord. Furthermore, iloprost treatment diminished demyelination and motor function deficits in mice injected with LPC. These results support the notion that prostacyclin acts on pericytes to maintain vascular barrier integrity.
Keywords: Axon; Blood-Brain Barrier; Mouse; Multiple Sclerosis; Neurite Outgrowth; Neurodegeneration; Oligodendrocyte; Spinal Cord.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.