Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 349, Issue 2, pp 589–603 | Cite as

Different vascular permeability between the sensory and secretory circumventricular organs of adult mouse brain

  • Shoko Morita
  • Seiji MiyataEmail author
Regular Article


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents free access of circulating molecules to the brain and maintains a specialized brain environment to protect the brain from blood-derived bioactive and toxic molecules; however, the circumventricular organs (CVOs) have fenestrated vasculature. The fenestrated vasculature in the sensory CVOs, including the organum vasculosum of lamina terminalis (OVLT), subfornical organ (SFO) and area postrema (AP), allows neurons and astrocytes to sense a variety of plasma molecules and convey their information into other brain regions and the vasculature in the secretory CVOs, including median eminence (ME) and neurohypophysis (NH), permits neuronal terminals to secrete many peptides into the blood stream. The present study showed that vascular permeability of low-molecular-mass tracers such as fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and Evans Blue was higher in the secretory CVOs and kidney as compared with that in the sensory CVOs. On the other hand, vascular permeability of high-molecular-mass tracers such as FITC-labeled bovine serum albumin and Dextran 70,000 was lower in the CVOs as compared with that in the kidney. Prominent vascular permeability of low- and high-molecular-mass tracers was also observed in the arcuate nucleus. These data demonstrate that vascular permeability for low-molecular-mass molecules is higher in the secretory CVOs as compared with that in the sensory CVOs, possibly for large secretion of peptides to the blood stream. Moreover, vascular permeability for high-molecular-mass tracers in the CVOs is smaller than that of the kidney, indicating that the CVOs are not totally without a BBB.


Blood–brain barrier Brain Secretion Sensor FITC 



The hybridoma of anti-CD31 (2H8) antibody developed by Drs. Steven Bogen was obtained from the DSHB developed under the auspices of the NICHD respectively and maintained by The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. This work was supported in part by Scientific Research Grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (no.21500323 to S. Miyata) and Salt Science Research Foundation (no. 1137 to S. Miyata). Shoko Morita was supported by a Research Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for Young Scientists (no. 23·8513).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied BiologyKyoto Institute of TechnologyKyotoJapan

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