Shear stress and 17β-estradiol modulate cerebral microvascular endothelial Na-K-Cl cotransporter and Na/H exchanger protein levels

Elaine Chang, Martha E O'Donnell, Abdul I. Barakat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Ion transporters of blood-brain barrier (BBB) endothelial cells play an important role in regulating the movement of ions between the blood and brain. During ischemic stroke, reduction in cerebral blood flow is accompanied by transport of Na and Cl from the blood into the brain, with consequent brain edema formation. We have shown previously that a BBB Na-K-Cl cotransporter (NKCC) participates in ischemia-induced brain Na and water uptake and that a BBB Na/H exchanger (NHE) may also participate. While the abrupt reduction of blood flow is a prominent component of ischemia, the effects of flow on BBB NKCC and NHE are not known. In the present study, we examined the effects of changes in shear stress on NKCC and NHE protein levels in cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs). We have shown previously that estradiol attenuates both ischemia-induced cerebral edema and CMEC NKCC activity. Thus, in the present study, we also examined the effects of estradiol on NKCC and NHE protein levels in CMECs. Exposing CMECs to steady shear stress (19 dyn/cm2) increased the abundance of both NKCC and NHE. Estradiol abolished the shear stress-induced increase in NHE but not NKCC. Abrupt reduction of shear stress did not alter NKCC or NHE abundance in the absence of estradiol, but it decreased NKCC abundance in estradiol-treated cells. Our results indicate that changes in shear stress modulate BBB NKCC and NHE protein levels. They also support the hypothesis that estradiol attenuates edema formation in ischemic stroke in part by reducing the abundance of BBB NKCC protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008



  • Endothelium
  • Estrogen
  • Flow reduction
  • Ischemia
  • Mechanotransduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology

Cite this