Development and characterization of a novel human in vitro blood-nerve barrier model using primary endoneurial endothelial cells

Academic Article


  • There are phenotypic and functional differences between vascular endothelium from different tissues and between microvascular and macrovascular endothelial cells (ECs) from the same tissue. Relatively little is known about the human blood-nerve barrier (BNB). We report the development of an in vitro BNB model using primary human endoneurial ECs freshly isolated and purified from decedent sciatic nerves via endoneurial stripping, connective tissue enzymatic digestion, and density centrifugation. Primary human endoneurial ECs are spindle shaped and contact inhibited. They rapidly differentiate to form capillary-like networks and microvessels, bind Ulex Europaeus Agglutinin 1 lectin, express von Willebrand factor, and endocytose acetylated low-density lipoprotein. They also express specific transport and cellular adhesion molecules and tight junction proteins, consistent with cells that form a highly restrictive endothelial barrier similar to the blood-brain barrier. When cultured on collagen-coated transwell inserts, the primary human endoneurial ECs develop an in vitro BNB with high transendothelial electrical resistances (160Ω.cm; maximal 12 days after seeding) and low solute permeability coefficient to fluoresceinated high-molecular weight (70 kDa) dextran (2.75 × 10 cm/minute). This in vitro BNB model retains essential known or expected characteristics of the human BNB and has many potential applications for studies of solute, macromolecule, microbial, virus, and leukocyte interactions with this highly specialized endothelial barrier. Copyright © 2009 by the American Association of Neuropathologists, Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yosef N; Xia RH; Ubogu EE
  • Start Page

  • 82
  • End Page

  • 97
  • Volume

  • 69
  • Issue

  • 1