Three-Dimensional Explant Platform for Studies on Choroid Plexus Epithelium

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The choroid plexus (CP) plays a major role in controlling the entry of substances and immune cells into the brain as it forms the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB) in the brain ventricles. Dysregulated immune cell trafficking through the epithelial cell (EC) layer of CP is central for the pathogenesis of infectious diseases in the brain and many neurodegenerative disorders. In vitro studies elucidating the function of the CP have so far been limited to the monolayer culture of CP ECs. To mimic immune cell migration across the CP barrier, a three-dimensional model would be advantageous. Here, we present an in vitro platform for studies of the immune cell trafficking based on CP explants/organoids. The explants were generated from fragments of mouse CPs in Matrigel, where the cells formed luminal spaces and could be maintained in culture for at least 8 weeks. We demonstrate expression of the major CP markers in the explants, including transthyretin and aquaporin 1 as well as ZO1 and ICAM-1, indicating a capacity for secretion of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and presence of tight junctions. CP explants displayed CP-like cell polarization and formed an intact EC barrier. We also show that the expression of transthyretin, transferrin, occludin and other genes associated with various functions of CP was maintained in the explants at similar levels as in native CP. By using dendritic cells and neutrophils, we show that the migration activity of immune cells and their interactions with CP epithelium can be monitored by microscopy. Thereby, the three-dimensional CP explant model can be used to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating immune cell migration through CP epithelium and other functions of choroid EC. We propose this platform can potentially be used in the search for therapeutic targets and intervention strategies to improve control of (drug) substances and (immune) cell entry into the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier, choroid plexus, epithelium, explant, immune cells, in vitro model, organoid, tight junction markers

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