Diabetes Metab J.  2022 Mar;46(2):222-238. 10.4093/dmj.2021.0146.

Glial and Vascular Cell Regulation of the Blood-Brain Barrier in Diabetes

Affiliations
  • 1National Drug Clinical Trial Institution, Second Affiliated Hospital, Army Medical University, Chongqing, China

Abstract

As a structural barrier, the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is located at the interface between the brain parenchyma and blood, and modulates communication between the brain and blood microenvironment to maintain homeostasis. The BBB is composed of endothelial cells, basement membrane, pericytes, and astrocytic end feet. BBB impairment is a distinguishing and pathogenic factor in diabetic encephalopathy. Diabetes causes leakage of the BBB through downregulation of tight junction proteins, resulting in impaired functioning of endothelial cells, pericytes, astrocytes, microglia, nerve/glial antigen 2-glia, and oligodendrocytes. However, the temporal regulation, mechanisms of molecular and signaling pathways, and consequences of BBB impairment in diabetes are not well understood. Consequently, the efficacy of therapies diabetes targeting BBB leakage still lags behind the requirements. This review summarizes the recent research on the effects of diabetes on BBB composition and the potential roles of glial and vascular cells as therapeutic targets for BBB disruption in diabetic encephalopathy.

Keyword

Astrocytes; Blood-brain barrier; Diabetes mellitus; Endothelial cells; Microglia; Oligodendrocyte precursor cells; Oligodendroglia; Pericytes
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