Mfsd2a and Spns2 are essential for sphingosine-1-phosphate transport in the formation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier

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Science Advances  29 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 22, eaay8627
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay8627


To maintain brain homeostasis, a unique interface known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is formed between the blood circulation and the central nervous system (CNS). Major facilitator superfamily domain-containing 2a (Mfsd2a) is a specific marker of the BBB. However, the mechanism by which Mfsd2a influences the BBB is poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrated that Mfsd2a is essential for sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) export from endothelial cells in the brain. We found that Mfsd2a and Spinster homolog 2 (Spns2) form a protein complex to ensure the efficient transport of S1P. Furthermore, the S1P-rich microenvironment in the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the vascular endothelium dominates the formation and maintenance of the BBB. We demonstrated that different concentrations of S1P have different effects on BBB integrity. These findings help to unravel the mechanism by which S1P regulates BBB and also provide previously unidentified insights into the delivery of neurological drugs in the CNS.

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