Insight into the molecular and cellular processes in blood-retinal barrier (BRB) development, including the contribution of paracellular and transcellular pathways, is still incomplete but may help to understand the inverse process of BRB loss in pathologic eye conditions. In this comprehensive observational study, we describe in detail the formation of the BRB at the molecular level in physiologic conditions, using mice from postnatal day (P)3 to P25. Our data indicate that immature blood vessels already have tight junctions at P5, before the formation of a functional BRB. Expression of the endothelial cell-specific protein plasmalemma vesicle-associated protein (PLVAP), which is known to be involved in transcellular transport and associated with BRB permeability, decreased during development and was absent when a functional barrier was formed. Moreover, we show that PLVAP deficiency causes a transient delay in retinal vascular development and changes in mRNA expression levels of endothelial permeability pathway proteins.-Van der Wijk, A.-E., Wisniewska-Kruk, J., Vogels, I. M. C., van Veen, H. A., Ip, W. F., van der Wel, N. N., van Noorden, C. J. F., Schlingemann, R. O., Klaassen, I. Expression patterns of endothelial permeability pathways in the development of the blood-retinal barrier in mice.
Keywords: VEGF signaling; tight junctions; transcellular permeability.