Regulation of blood-brain barrier endothelial cells by nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide (NO) synthesized by vascular endothelial cells is a potent vasodilator substance. The actions of NO extend well beyond its vasodilatory properties, and increasingly, NO has been recognized as an important signal for intercellular and intracellular communication. Recently, NO has been implicated in the regulation of vascular and blood-brain barrier permeability. NO has also been shown to modulate ion channels in excitable cells, thus affecting neuronal firing. We report the results of patch-clamp experiments that show a modulatory action of NO as well as cGMP and cAMP on a hyperpolarization-activated current (Iha) carried by both Na+ and K+ ions in blood-brain barrier endothelial cells. Iha was recorded in cells dialyzed with 0.2 mmol/L GTP-gamma-S to inhibit a large inwardly rectifying potassium current. This ionic current and its modulation by NO may play a role in the regulation of the transport of ions, nutrients, and other molecules to the brain and serve as an integral part of the blood-brain barrier. The modulation of Iha by a cyclic guanosine nucleotide may also explain previous reports suggesting a role for NO in the regulation of blood-brain barrier function.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association