Blood-brain barrier tight junctions are altered during a 72-h exposure to λ-carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain

J. D. Huber, V. S. Hau, L. Borg, C. R. Campos, R. D. Egleton, T. P. Davis

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84 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined the effect of λ-carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain on the functional and structural properties of the rat blood-brain barrier (BBB) over a 72-h time period. Systemic inflammation was induced by an intraplantar injection of 3% λ-carrageenan into the right hind paw of female Sprague-Dawley rats. In situ brain perfusion and Western blot analyses were performed at 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h. In situ brain perfusion showed λ-carrageenan significantly increased brain uptake of [14C] sucrose at 1, 3, 6, and 48 h (139 ± 9%, 166 ± 19%, 138 ± 13%, and 146 ± 7% compared with control, respectively). Capillary depletion analysis insured the increased brain uptake was due to increased BBB permeability and not vascular trapping. Western blot analyses for zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin were performed on isolated cerebral microvessels. ZO-1 expression was significantly increased at 1, 3, and 6 h and returned to control expression levels by 12 h. Total occludin expression was significantly reduced at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 48 h. This investigation demonstrated that λ-carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain elicits a biphasic increase in BBB permeability with the first phase occurring from 1-6 h and the second phase occuring at 48 h. Furthermore, changes in BBB function are correlated with altered tight junctional protein expression of occludin and ZO-1. Changes in the structure of tight junctions may have important clinical ramifications concerning central nervous system homeostasis and therapeutic drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1531-H1537
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 52-4
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Inflammation
  • Membrane-associated guanylate kinase
  • Occludin
  • ZO-1
  • ZO-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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