Central nervous system (CNS) pericytes have been recognized as an indispensable component of the neurovascular unit. The expression of platelet-derived growth factor receptor β (PDGFRβ) is markedly increased in CNS pericytes after brain ischemia. It has been elucidated that PDGFRβ, expressed in pericytes and pericyte-derived fibroblast-like cells, plays important roles in the maintenance of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and in the repair process in infarct areas. The aim of this study was to uncover how the PDGFRβ expression is regulated in pericytes after brain ischemia. We found that basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), but neither hypoxia at 1% O2 nor acidification at pH 6.5, significantly upregulated the PDGFRβ expression in human cultured CNS pericytes. SU5402, an inhibitor of FGF receptor (FGFR), and inhibitors of its downstream effectors Akt and Erk abolished the bFGF-induced upregulation of PDGFRβ. On the other hand, acidification significantly upregulated the expression of bFGF, while hypoxia upregulated the expression of FGFR1 in the pericytes. The expression of bFGF and FGFR1 was markedly induced in the ischemic hemisphere after ischemic insult in a middle cerebral artery occlusion stroke model. Immunofluorescent double labeling demonstrated that the expression of bFGF and FGFR1 was co-localized with PDGFRβ-positive cells in peri-infarct areas. Moreover, treatment with bFGF enhanced cell growth and the PDGF-BB-induced migratory activity of cultured pericytes, which were significantly suppressed by SU5402 or Sunitinib, an inhibitor of PDGFR. These data suggested that increased bFGF upregulates the expression of PDGFRβ and may enhance PDGFRβ-mediated pericyte functions after brain ischemia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes