In vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) models are essential research tools for use in developing braintargeted drugs and understanding the physiological and pathophysiological functions of the BBB. To develop BBB models with better functionalities, three-dimensional (3D) culture methods have gained significant attention as a promising approach. In this study, we report on the development of a human conditionally immortalized cell-based multicellular spheroidal BBB (hiMCS-BBB) model. After being seeded into nonattachment culture wells, HASTR/ci35 (astrocytes) and HBPC/ci37 cells (brain pericytes) self-assemble to form a spheroid core that is then covered with an outer monolayer of HBMEC/ci18 cells (brain microvascular endothelial cells). The results of immunocytochemistry showed the protein expression of several cellular junction and BBB-enriched transporter genes in HBMEC/ci18 cells of the spheroid model. The permeability assays showed that the hiMCS-BBB model exhibited barrier functions against the penetration of dextran (5 and 70 kDa) and rhodamine123 (a P-glycoprotein substrate) into the core. On the other hand, facilitation of 2-(N-[7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl]amino)-2-deoxyglucose (2-NBDG; a fluorescent glucose analog) uptake was observed in the hiMCS-BBB model. Furthermore, tumor necrosis factor-alpha treatment elicited an inflammatory response in HBMEC/ci18 cells, thereby suggesting that BBB inflammation can be recapitulated in the hiMCS-BBB model. To summarize, we have developed an hiMCS-BBB model that possesses fundamental BBB properties, which can be expected to provide a useful and highly accessible experimental platform for accelerating various BBB studies.
- Blood-brain barrier
- Central nervous system disease
- Drug development
- Immortalized cell
- In vitro model