African trypanosome interactions with an in vitro model of the human blood-brain barrier

The Journal of Parasitology
Dennis J GrabKwang Sik Kim

Abstract

The neurological manifestations of sleeping sickness in man are attributed to the penetration of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and invasion of the central nervous system by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. However, how African trypanosomes cross the BBB remains an unresolved issue. We have examined the traversal of African trypanosomes across the human BBB using an in vitro BBB model system constructed of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) grown on Costar Transwell inserts. Human-infective T. b. gambiense strain IL 1852 was found to cross human BMECs far more readily than the animal-infective Trypanosoma brucei brucei strains 427 and TREU 927. Tsetse fly-infective procyclic trypomastigotes did not cross the human BMECs either alone or when coincubated with bloodstreamform T. b. gambiense. After overnight incubation, the integrity of the human BMEC monolayer measured by transendothelial electrical resistance was maintained on the inserts relative to the controls when the endothelial cells were incubated with T. b. brucei. However, decreases in electrical resistance were observed when the BMEC-coated inserts were incubated with T. b. gambiense. Light and electron microscopy studies...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Blood - Brain Barrier Anatomy
Calcium
Scanning Electron Microscopy
Immunofluorescence Microscopy
Transfection
Trypanosoma brucei brucei
Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
Ohmic Resistance
Vascular Endothelial Cells
Electron Diffraction Microscopy

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