Wnt Signaling in Inner Blood-Retinal Barrier Maintenance


Yemanyi F, Bora K, Blomfield AK, Wang Z, Chen J. Wnt Signaling in Inner Blood-Retinal Barrier Maintenance. Int J Mol Sci 2021;22(21)

Date Published:

2021 Nov 02


The retina is a light-sensing ocular tissue that sends information to the brain to enable vision. The blood-retinal barrier (BRB) contributes to maintaining homeostasis in the retinal microenvironment by selectively regulating flux of molecules between systemic circulation and the retina. Maintaining such physiological balance is fundamental to visual function by facilitating the delivery of nutrients and oxygen and for protection from blood-borne toxins. The inner BRB (iBRB), composed mostly of inner retinal vasculature, controls substance exchange mainly via transportation processes between (paracellular) and through (transcellular) the retinal microvascular endothelium. Disruption of iBRB, characterized by retinal edema, is observed in many eye diseases and disturbs the physiological quiescence in the retina's extracellular space, resulting in vision loss. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms of iBRB formation, maintenance, and breakdown is pivotal to discovering potential targets to restore function to compromised physiological barriers. These unraveled targets can also inform potential drug delivery strategies across the BRB and the blood-brain barrier into retinas and brain tissues, respectively. This review summarizes mechanistic insights into the development and maintenance of iBRB in health and disease, with a specific focus on the Wnt signaling pathway and its regulatory role in both paracellular and transcellular transport across the retinal vascular endothelium.

Last updated on 12/01/2021