Peripheral injections of Freund's adjuvant in mice provoke leakage of serum proteins through the blood-brain barrier without inducing reactive gliosis

Alexander G. Rabchevsky, Jean Denis Degos, Patrick A. Dreyfus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and ensuing gliosis are common events following physical trauma to the central nervous system (CNS) or during autoimmune diseases such as experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). Some studies of EAE in rodents report that peripheral injections of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA), which contains heat-inactivated Mycobacterium to provoke peripheral inflammation without adversely affecting the CNS, can itself lead to increased BBB permeability to small tracer molecules and certain serum proteins. To study the equivocal relationship between serum protein extravasation and reactive gliosis, we injected C57BL/6 mice with CFA and histologically assessed the permeability of various serum proteins and the reactivity of proximal microglia and astrocytes in the uninjured brainstem and spinal cord enlargements after 1-4 weeks. Our results confirm that CFA injections induce progressive increases in the perivascular extravasation of serum IgG, albumin, IgM, and exogenous horseradish peroxidase, all to varying degrees, most prominently in the brainstem and cervical spinal cord after 2-3 weeks. More importantly, neither microglial cells nor astrocytes in regions of focal serum protein leakage appeared morphologically reactive based on immunoreactivity for CR3 receptors (Mac-1) or glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), respectively. Because we found no evidence of T cell infiltration accompanying the exudates, our results indicate that in the absence of physical trauma or inflammatory cells resident CNS neuroglia remain quiescent upon exposure to extravasated serum proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-96
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 19 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by INSERM and grants from the Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique (PHRC) and the Association Française Contre les Myopathies (AFM). AGR was an INSERM fellow (poste vert). We wish to thank Drs. Milton Brightman, Serge Marty and Marc Peschanski for their helpful suggestions and review of the manuscript. We also thank Dr. Nicole Guiso from the Pasteur Institute for generously providing Bordetella pertussis used in our preliminary studies of EAE.


  • Astrocyte
  • Complete Freund's adjuvant
  • Extravasation
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • IgG
  • Mac-1
  • Microglia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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