Effects of hypoxia-reoxygenation on rat blood-brain barrier permeability and tight junctional protein expression

Ken A. Witt, Karen S. Mark, Sharon Hom, Thomas P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Cerebral microvessel endothelial cells that form the blood-brain barrier (BBB) have tight junctions (TJs) that are critical for maintaining brain homeostasis. The effects of initial reoxygenation after a hypoxic insult (H/R) on functional and molecular properties of the BBB and TJs remain unclear. In situ brain perfusion and Western blot analyses were performed to assess in vivo BBB integrity on reoxygenation after a hypoxic insult of 6% 02 for 1 h. Model conditions [blood pressure, blood gas chemistries, cerebral blood flow (CBF), and brain ATP concentration] were also assessed to ensure consistent levels and criteria for insult. In situ brain perfusion revealed that initial reoxygenation (10 min) significantly increased the uptake of [ 14C]sucrose into brain parenchyma. Capillary depletion and CBF analyses indicated the perturbations were due to increased paracellular permeability rather than vascular volume changes. Hypoxia with reoxygenation (10 min) produced an increase in BBB permeability with associated alterations in tight junctional protein expression. These results suggest that H/R leads to reorganization of TJs and increased paracellular diffusion at the BBB, which is not a result of increased CBF, vascular volume change, or endothelial uptake of marker. Additionally, the tight junctional protein occludin had a shift in bands that correlated with functional changes (i.e., increased permeability) without significant change in expression of claudin-3, zonula occludens-1, or actin. H/R-induced changes in the BBB may result in edema and/or associated pathological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2820-H2831
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 54-6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Hypoxemia
  • In vivo
  • Occludin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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