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Mast cells promote blood brain barrier breakdown and neutrophil infiltration in a mouse model of focal cerebral ischemia

McKittrick, Craig M. and Lawrence, Catherine E. and Carswell, Hilary V.O. (2015) Mast cells promote blood brain barrier breakdown and neutrophil infiltration in a mouse model of focal cerebral ischemia. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 35 (4). pp. 638-647. ISSN 0271-678X

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Blood brain barrier (BBB) breakdown and neuroinflammation are key events in ischemic stroke morbidity and mortality. The present study investigated the effects of mast cell deficiency and stabilization on BBB breakdown and neutrophil infiltration in mice after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAo). Adult male C57BL6/J wild type (WT) and mast cell-deficient (C57BL6/J KitWsh/Wsh (Wsh)) mice underwent tMCAo and BBB breakdown, brain edema and neutrophil infiltration were examined after 4 hours of reperfusion. Blood brain barrier breakdown, brain edema, and neutrophil infiltration were significantly reduced in Wsh versus WT mice (P<0.05). These results were reproduced pharmacologically using mast cell stabilizer, cromoglycate. Wild-type mice administered cromoglycate intraventricularly exhibited reduced BBB breakdown, brain edema, and neutrophil infiltration versus vehicle (P<0.05). There was no effect of cromoglycate versus vehicle in Wsh mice, validating specificity of cromoglycate on brain mast cells. Proteomic analysis in Wsh versus WT indicated that effects may be via expression of endoglin, endothelin-1, and matrix metalloproteinase-9. Using an in vivo model of mast cell deficiency, this is the first study showing that mast cells promote BBB breakdown in focal ischemia in mice, and opens up future opportunities for using mice to identify specific mechanisms of mast cell-related BBB injury.