Brain induces the expression of an early cell surface marker for blood-brain barrier-specific endothelium

EMBO J. 1986 Dec 1;5(12):3179-83. doi: 10.1002/j.1460-2075.1986.tb04627.x.


Capillaries derived from the perineural vascular plexus invade brain tissue early in embryonic development. Considerably later they differentiate into blood-brain barrier (BBB)-forming blood vessels. In the chick, the BBB as defined by impermeability for the protein horseradish peroxidase develops around embryonic day 13. We have previously found that brain endothelial cells start to express a number of proteins at around the same time, suggesting that these proteins play a role in BBB function. Here we describe a 74 kd protein defined by the monoclonal antibody HT7 that is expressed on the surface of chick embryonic blood cells and brain endothelial but on no other endothelial cells. This protein is not detectable on early embryonic brain endothelium, but is expressed by these cells on embryonic day 10. It is absent in choroid plexus endothelial cells which represent permeable fenestrated endothelial cells. The antigen is expressed on choroid plexus epithelium which is the site of the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier. Since it is also found in basolateral membranes of kidney tubules, it may be involved in specific carrier mechanisms. Embryonic mouse brain tissue transplanted on the chick chorio-allantoic membrane induces the expression of this antigen on endothelial cells derived from the chorio-allantois. Brain tissue can therefore induce in endothelial cells in vivo the expression of a molecule characteristic of brain endothelium.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Blood-Brain Barrier*
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Capillaries / embryology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens
  • Endothelium / analysis
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Kidney / analysis


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal