Damage to the cerebrovascular network is a major contributor to dysfunction in patients suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Vessels are composed of lumen-forming endothelial cells that associate closely with both glial and neuronal units to establish a functional blood-brain barrier (BBB). Under normal physiological conditions, these vascular units play important roles in central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis by delivering oxygen and nutrients while filtering out molecules and cells that could be harmful; however, after TBI this system is disrupted. Here, we describe a novel role for a class of receptors, called dependence receptors, in regulating vessel stability and BBB integrity after CCI injury in mice. Specifically, we identified that EphB3 receptors function as a pro-Apoptotic dependence receptor in endothelial cells (ECs) that contributes to increased BBB damage after CCI injury. In the absence of EphB3, we observed increased endothelial cell survival, reduced BBB permeability and enhanced interactions of astrocyte-EC membranes. Interestingly, the brain's response to CCI injury is to reduce EphB3 levels and its ligand ephrinB3; however, the degree and timing of those reductions limit the protective response of the CNS. We conclude that EphB3 is a negative regulator of cell survival and BBB integrity that undermine tissue repair, and represents a protective therapeutic target for TBI patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research