Endothelial Cell Transcytosis Assay as an In Vitro Model to Evaluate Inner Blood-Retinal Barrier Permeability

Kiran Bora, Zhongxiao Wang, Felix Yemanyi, Meenakshi Maurya, Alexandra K. Blomfield, Yohei Tomita, Jing Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dysfunction of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) contributes to the pathophysiology of several vascular eye diseases, often resulting in retinal edema and subsequent vision loss. The inner blood-retinal barrier (iBRB) is mainly composed of retinal vascular endothelium with low permeability under physiological conditions. This feature of low permeability is tightly regulated and maintained by low rates of paracellular transport between adjacent retinal microvascular endothelial cells, as well as transcellular transport (transcytosis) through them. The assessment of retinal transcellular barrier permeability may provide fundamental insights into iBRB integrity in health and disease. In this study, we describe an endothelial cell (EC) transcytosis assay, as an in vitro model for evaluating iBRB permeability, using human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs). This assay assesses the ability of HRMECs to transport transferrin and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in receptor-and caveolae-mediated transcellular transport processes, respectively. Fully confluent HRMECs cultured on porous membrane were incubated with fluorescent-tagged transferrin (clathrin-dependent transcytosis) or HRP (caveolae-mediated transcytosis) to measure the levels of transferrin or HRP transferred to the bottom chamber, indicative of transcytosis levels across the EC monolayer. Wnt signaling, a known pathway regulating iBRB, was modulated to demonstrate the caveolae-mediated HRP-based transcytosis assay method. The EC transcytosis assay described here may provide a useful tool for investigating the molecular regulators of EC permeability and iBRB integrity in vascular pathologies and for screening drug delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere64076
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Volume2022
Issue number184
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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