It was found to be active during development of the BBB but not afterward, according to paper in Journal of Cell Biology.
The Wnt signaling pathway is responsible for construction of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), according to a group of researchers.
They found that in brain endothelial cells, Wnt signaling was active during the time of maximum vascular development but not after the BBB matured. Activation of the Wnt signaling pathway in vivo and in vitro promoted BBB development, and inactivation prevented it. Increasing in vitro Wnt signaling also strengthened junctions between nonbrain endothelial cells.
This suggested to the investigators that Wnt signaling might be tweaked to mend the BBBs in patients where it has failed, such as in stroke. The pathway might also be used to move drugs past the BBB, when they normally would be kept out of the brain.
The study will appear in the November 3 edition of the Journal of Cell Biology.