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Cerebral endothelial and glial cells are more than bricks in the Great Wall of the brain: Insights into the way the blood-brain barrier actually works (Celebrating the centenary of Goldman's experiments)

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195725 Year: Pages: 186 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-572-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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When Ehrlich discovered the first evidence of the blood-brain barrier in 1885, he probably did not perceive the Great Wall that remained hidden from consciousness inside the central nervous system. Ehrlich had observed that acidic vital dyes did not stain the brain if they were injected into the blood stream. A century ago (1913), Goldman showed that the injection of trypan blue in the cerebrospinal fluid stained only the brain, but not the other organs. For almost a century it was thought that the blood-brain barrier (BBB) consisted in a physical barrier, resulting from the restricted permeability of the cerebral endothelial cell layer, as they are joined by tight junctions. However, as scientists are always looking for news in what is already discovered, in the end of the 20th century we had evidences that cerebral endothelial and glial cells express several drug metabolizing enzymes consisting in a second protection system: a metabolic barrier. Furthermore, the drugs and their metabolites must overcome the activity of several multidrug resistance proteins that function as ATP-dependent efflux pumps, consisting in the third line of defence: the active barrier. Therefore, the way the BBB actually works should be better explained. Several endogenous compounds, as well as xenobiotics, may be activated by enzymes of the metabolic barrier, generating reactive oxygen species that could damage neurons. Therefore, endothelial and glial cells possess endogenous protecting compounds and enzymes against oxidants, consisting in an antioxidant barrier. When all these systems fail, glial cells, mainly microglia, secrete cytokines in an attempt to crosstalk with defence cells asking for help, which consists in an immune barrier. In cerebral regions that are devoid of the physical barrier, such as circumventricular organs, the metabolic, active, antioxidant and immune barriers are reinforced. It is important to understand how cells involved in the BBB interact with one another and the dynamic mechanisms of their functions. This Research Topic published in this e-Book considers recent highlights in BBB structure, cell and molecular biology, biotransformation, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, immunology and how these basic knowledges can be applied in drug discovery and clinical researches, rewriting what is already written, and paving the way that goes to the Great Wall in the Frontiers of the Brain in this new century that is just beginning.

The changing faces of glutathione, a cellular protagonist

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195954 Year: Pages: 142 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-595-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Therapeutics --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Glutathione (GSH) has been described for a long time just as a defensive reagent against the action of toxic xenobiotics (drugs, pollutants, carcinogens), both directly and as a cofactor for GSH transferases. As a prototype antioxidant, it has been involved in cell protection from the noxious effect of excess oxidant stress, both directly and as a cofactor of glutathione peroxidases. In addition, it has long been known that GSH is capable of forming disulfide bonds with cysteine residues of proteins, and the relevance of this mechanism ("S-glutathionylation") in regulation of protein function has been well documented in a number of research fields. Rather paradoxically, it has also been highlighted that GSH—and notably its catabolites, as originated by metabolism by gamma-glutamyltransferase—can promote oxidative processes, by participating in metal ion-mediated reactions eventually leading to formation of reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Also, a fundamental role of GSH has been recognized in the storage and transport of nitric oxide (NO), in the form of S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO). The significance of GSH as a major factor in regulation of cell life, proliferation, and death, can be regarded as the integrated result of all these roles, as well as of more which are emerging in diverse fields of biology and pathophysiology. Against this background, modulation of GSH levels and GSH-related enzyme activities represents a fertile field for experimental pharmacology in numerous and diverse perspectives of animal, plant and microbiologic research. This research topic includes 14 articles, i.e. 4 Opinion Articles, 6 Reviews, and 4 Original Research Articles. The contributions by several distinguished research groups, each from his own standpoint of competence and expertise, provide a comprehensive and updated view over the diverse roles, the changing faces of GSH and GSH-related enzymes in cell’s health, disease and death.

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