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Keywords:

  • albumin;
  • blood–CSF barrier;
  • cerebrospinal fluid;
  • choroid plexus;
  • Monodelphis domestica;
  • protein transport

Abstract

Specialized populations of choroid plexus epithelial cells have previously been shown to be responsible for the transfer of individual plasma proteins from blood to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), contributing to their characteristically high concentrations in CSF of the developing brain. The mechanism of this protein transfer remains elusive. Using a marsupial, Monodelphis domestica, we demonstrate that the albumin-binding protein SPARC (osteonectin/BM-40/culture-shock protein) is present in a subset of choroid plexus epithelial cells from its first appearance, throughout development, and into adulthood. The synthesis of SPARC by the lateral ventricular plexus was confirmed with real-time PCR. The expression level of SPARC was higher in plexuses of younger than older animals. Western blot analysis of the gene product confirmed the quantitative PCR results. The co-localization of SPARC and albumin shown by immunocytochemistry and its cellular location indicate that this glycoprotein may act as a recognition site for albumin. In addition, the numbers of SPARC-immunopositive cells and its expression were responsive to experimental changes of albumin concentration in the blood. It is suggested that SPARC may be one of the molecules that govern the uptake and delivery of proteins from blood to the CSF. The results also confirm that protein transfer across the blood–CSF barrier is developmentally and physiologically regulated.