The intactness of the blood brain barrier is essential to maintain a healthy brain. Therefore, the endothelial cells of the brain blood vessels organize themselves to a rigid monolayer that prevents blood borne molecules except a few species to enter the brain. However, some diseases e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer´s induce an elevated level of reactive molecules, such as methylglyoxal, in the blood. This can damage the integrity of the blood brain barrier.

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“Holographic microscopy analysis enabled us to visualize the kinetics of morphological changes caused by methylglyoxal and the protective effect of edaravone at the cellular level.”
Dr. Andrea E. Tóth, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

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In this study the damage caused by methylglyoxal was visualized as holographic 3D images and measured by morphological analyses. Brain endothelial cells were cultured as a monolayer and treated with either methyl­glyoxal or methylglyoxal + edavarone, a Japanese drug. The methyl­glyoxal-treated cells contract with an increased optical thickness and a decreased area. When edavarone was added to the treatment, the effect was completely inhibited. Functional analyses were performed that were in complete agreement with these results.

In conclusion, this study visualizes and measures for the first time the change in morphology of methylglyoxal treated brain endothelial cells and the prevention of these changes by edavarone.