Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 41–50 | Cite as

Blood-brain barrier in chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis: A correlative study between cerebrospinal fluid protein concentrations and tracer leakage in the central nervous system

  • K. Kitz
  • H. Lassmann
  • D. Karcher
  • A. Lowenthal
Original Works


Blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability in chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis was studied morphologically in tracer studies with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) as well as by quantitative determination of HRP, albumin, and IgG in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), BBB damage was found to be localized in demyelinating plaques and in blood vessels with vasculitis. Actively demyelinating lesions showed massive increase in BBB permeability, whereas in inactive or remyelinated lesions BBB damage was either minimal or absent. Determination of serum proteins in the CSF of animals with severe disease and a high incidence of actively demyelinating lesions showed evidence of BBB damge (reduction of Q-albumin) and an IgG-index in the normal range. In animals with only inactive lesions the Q-albumin was normal, the IgG index, however, was elevated. This finding indicates intrathecal IgG synthesis.

A correlation between morphologically visualized tracer leakage in the central nervous system (CNS) with serum protein concentrations in the CSF revealed that elevated CSF albumin is a reliable indicator for BBB damage in lesions, located near the inner or outer surface of the brain and spinal cord. However, singular focal lesions with BBB damage located in the depth of the CNS parenchyma may not be accompanied by CSF protein alterations. The invariable presence of BBB damage in active inflammatory demyelinating lesions and its absence in inactive plaques or in the unaffected nervous tissue may be important in therapy, not only in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis but also in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Key words

Chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis Blood-brain barrier Tracer study Cerebrospinal fluid proteins 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Kitz
    • 1
  • H. Lassmann
    • 1
  • D. Karcher
    • 2
  • A. Lowenthal
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of NeurologyUniversity of WienWienAustria
  2. 2.Dept. of Neurochemistry, Born Bunge FoundationUniversitaire Instelling AntwerpenWilrijkBelgium

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