Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid in the Brain Gliovascular Unit: Prospective Targets in Therapy
The gliovascular unit (GVU) is composed of the brain microvascular endothelial cells forming blood-brain barrier and the neighboring surrounding « mural » cells (e.g., pericytes) and astrocytes. Modulation of the GVU/BBB features could be observed in a variety of vascular, immunologic, neuro-psychiatric diseases, and cancers, which can disrupt the brain homeostasis. Ca2+ dynamics have been regarded as a major factor in determining BBB/GVU properties, and previous studies have demonstrated the role of transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) channels in modulating Ca2+ and BBB/GVU properties. The physiological role of thermosensitive TRPV channels in the BBB/GVU, as well as their possible therapeutic potential as targets in treating brain diseases via preserving the BBB are reviewed. TRPV2 and TRPV4 are the most abundant isoforms in the human BBB, and TRPV2 was evidenced to play a main role in regulating human BBB integrity. Interspecies differences in TRPV2 and TRPV4 BBB expression complicate further preclinical validation. More studies are still needed to better establish the physiopathological TRPV roles such as in astrocytes, vascular smooth muscle cells, and pericytes. The effect of the chronic TRPV modulation should also deserve further studies to evaluate their benefit and innocuity in vivo.
Keywords: blood-brain barrier; cannabidiol; membrane proteins; neurovascular unit; transient receptor potential cation channels.