Understanding the pathophysiology of the blood brain–barrier (BBB) plays a critical role in diagnosis and treatment of disease conditions. Applying a sensitive and specific LC–MS/MS technique for the measurement of BBB integrity with high precision, we have recently introduced non-radioactive [13C12]sucrose as a superior marker substance. Comparison of permeability markers with different molecular weight, but otherwise similar physicochemical properties, can provide insights into the uptake mechanism at the BBB. Mannitol is a small hydrophilic, uncharged molecule that is half the size of sucrose. Previously only radioactive [3H]mannitol or [14C]mannitol has been used to measure BBB integrity.
We developed a UPLC–MS/MS method for simultaneous analysis of stable isotope-labeled sucrose and mannitol. The in vivo BBB permeability of [13C6]mannitol and [13C12]sucrose was measured in mice, using [13C6]sucrose as a vascular marker to correct for brain intravascular content. Moreover, a Transwell model with induced pluripotent stem cell-derived brain endothelial cells was used to measure the permeability coefficient of sucrose and mannitol in vitro both under control and compromised (in the presence of IL-1β) conditions.
We found low permeability values for both mannitol and sucrose in vitro (permeability coefficients of 4.99 ± 0.152 × 10−7 and 3.12 ± 0.176 × 10−7 cm/s, respectively) and in vivo (PS products of 0.267 ± 0.021 and 0.126 ± 0.025 µl g−1 min−1, respectively). Further, the in vitro permeability of both markers substantially increased in the presence of IL-1β. Corrected brain concentrations (Cbr), obtained by washout vs. vascular marker correction, were not significantly different for either mannitol (0.071 ± 0.007 and 0.065 ± 0.009 percent injected dose per g) or sucrose (0.035 ± 0.003 and 0.037 ± 0.005 percent injected dose per g). These data also indicate that Cbr and PS product values of mannitol were about twice the corresponding values of sucrose.
We established a highly sensitive, specific and reproducible approach to simultaneously measure the BBB permeability of two classical low molecular weight, hydrophilic markers in a stable isotope labeled format. This method is now available as a tool to quantify BBB permeability in vitro and in vivo in different disease models, as well as for monitoring treatment outcomes.
Noorani B, Chowdhury EA, Alqahtani F. et al. LC–MS/MS-based in vitro and in vivo investigation of blood–brain barrier integrity by simultaneous quantitation of mannitol and sucrose. Fluids Barriers CNS. 2020;17:61. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12987-020-00224-1
While the article itself is under the CC-BY 4.0 license indicated, the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.