As an optically transparent model organism with an endothelial blood-brain barrier (BBB), zebrafish offer a powerful tool to study the vertebrate BBB. However, the precise developmental profile of functional zebrafish BBB acquisition and the subcellular and molecular mechanisms governing the zebrafish BBB remain poorly characterized. Here we capture the dynamics of developmental BBB leakage using live imaging, revealing a combination of steady accumulation in the parenchyma and sporadic bursts of tracer leakage. Electron microscopy studies further reveal high levels of transcytosis in brain endothelium early in development that are suppressed later. The timing of this suppression of transcytosis coincides with the establishment of BBB function. Finally, we demonstrate a key mammalian BBB regulator Mfsd2a, which inhibits transcytosis, plays a conserved role in zebrafish, as mfsd2aa mutants display increased BBB permeability due to increased transcytosis. Our findings indicate a conserved developmental program of barrier acquisition between zebrafish and mice.
- Natasha M O'Brown
- Chenghua Gu
- Chenghua Gu
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the NIH. All animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (protocol 04487) of Harvard Medical School. All work was approved by the Harvard Medical Area Standing Committee on Animals.
- Richard Daneman, University of California - San Diego, United States
© 2019, O'Brown et al.
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