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Integrin Protein Protects Brain From Neuroinflammation

November 20, 2017

Researchers from the Scripps Research Institute have established a neuroprotective role for a specific integrin receptor following damaging neuroinflammation, through stabilisation of the blood-brain barrier.

The group used a multiple sclerosis mimicking mouse model. Multiple sclerosis is a disease which is characterised by neurodegeneration caused by chronic inflammation.

The α6β4 integrin protein was found to be upregulated following the initiation of multiple sclerosis-related neuroinflammation. The upregulation of α6β4 integrin correlated with a better clinical outcome in mice with the receptor protein, compared to the mice that had the α6β4 integrin gene knocked-out of their genome, leaving the mice unable to express this protein. These α6β4 integrin knockout mice were much more susceptible to infiltration of leukocyte immune cells to the central nervous system. Such infiltration should be inhibited by the blood-brain barrier under healthy conditions.

This result correlated with a reduced expression of tight junction proteins that would normally keep potentially damaging non-central nervous system cells and proteins away from sensitive brain tissue.

READ MORE via Journal of Inflammation