West Nile virus-induced disruption of the blood-brain barrier in mice is characterized by the degradation of the junctional complex proteins and increase in multiple matrix metalloproteinases.
Roe K, Kumar M, Lum S, Orillo B, Nerurkar VR, Verma S.
Roe K, Kumar M, Lum S, Orillo B, Nerurkar VR, Verma S. (2012) West Nile virus-induced disruption of the blood-brain barrier in mice is characterized by the degradation of the junctional complex proteins and increase in multiple matrix metalloproteinases. Journal of General Virology 93(Pt 6):1193-1203.
West Nile virus (WNV) encephalitis is characterized by neuroinflammation, neuronal loss and blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption. However, the mechanisms associated with the BBB disruption are unclear. Complex interactions between the tight junction proteins (TJP) and the adherens junction proteins (AJP) of the brain microvascular endothelial cells are responsible for maintaining the BBB integrity. Herein, we characterized the relationship between the BBB disruption and expression kinetics of key TJP, AJP and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the mice brain. A dramatic increase in the BBB permeability and extravasation of IgG was observed at later time points of CNS infection and did not precede virus-CNS entry. WNV-infected mice exhibited significant reduction in the protein levels of the TJP ZO-1, claudin-1, occludin and JAM-A, and AJP Ã??Ã?Â²-catenin and VE-cadherin, which correlated with increased levels of MMP-1, -3 and -9 and infiltrated leukocytes in the brain. Further, intracranial inoculation of WNV also demonstrated increased extravasation of IgG in the brain suggesting the role of virus replication in the CNS in BBB disruption. These data suggest that altered expression of junction proteins is a pathological event associated with WNV infection and may explain the molecular basis of BBB disruption. We propose that WNV initially enters CNS without altering the BBB integrity and later virus replication in the brain initiates BBB disruption, allowing enhanced infiltration of immune cells and contribute to virus neuroinvasion via the ‘Trojan horse’ route. These data further implicate role of multiple MMPs in the BBB disruption and strategies to interrupt this process may influence the WNV disease outcome.