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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Jun 2020 - 26 Jun 2020

2020 Jun 17

Exp Neurol

Targeting the blood-nerve barrier for the management of immune-mediated peripheral neuropathies.


Healthy peripheral nerves encounter, with increased frequency, numerous chemical, biological, and biomechanical forces. Over time and with increasing age, these forces collectively contribute to the pathophysiology of a spectrum of traumatic, metabolic, and/or immune-mediated peripheral nerve disorders. The blood-nerve barrier (BNB) serves as a critical first-line defense against chemical and biologic insults while biomechanical forces are continuously buffered by a dense array of longitudinally orientated epineural collagen fibers exhibiting high-tensile strength. As emphasized throughout this Experimental Neurology Special Issue, the BNB is best characterized as a functionally dynamic multicellular vascular unit comprised of not only highly specialized endoneurial endothelial cells, but also associated perineurial cells, pericytes, Schwann cells, basement membrane, and invested axons. The composition of the BNB, while anatomically distinct, is not functionally dissimilar to that of the well characterized neurovascular unit of the central nervous system. While the BNB lacks a glial limitans and an astrocytic endfoot layer, the primary function of both vascular units is to establish, maintain, and protect an optimal endoneurial (PNS) or interstitial (CNS) fluid microenvironment that is vital for proper neuronal function. Altered endoneurial homeostasis as a secondary consequence of BNB dysregulation is considered an early pathological event in the course of a variety of traumatic, immune-mediated, or metabolically acquired peripheral neuropathies. In this review, emerging experimental advancements targeting the endoneurial microvasculature for the therapeutic management of immune-mediated inflammatory peripheral neuropathies, including the AIDP variant of Guillain-Barré syndrome, are discussed.