Fullerenols, water-soluble C60-fullerene derivatives, have been shown to exert neuroprotective effects in vitro and in vivo, most likely due to their capability to scavenge free radicals. However, little is known about the effects of fullerenols on the blood–brain barrier (BBB), especially on cerebral endothelial cells under inflammatory conditions. Here, we investigated whether the treatment of primary mouse brain microvascular endothelial cells with fullerenols impacts basal and inflammatory blood–brain barrier (BBB) properties in vitro. While fullerenols (1, 10, and 100 µg/mL) did not change transendothelial electrical resistance under basal and inflammatory conditions, 100 µg/mL of fullerenol significantly reduced erk1/2 activation and resulted in an activation of NFκB in an inflammatory milieu. Our findings suggest that fullerenols might counteract oxidative stress via the erk1/2 and NFκB pathways, and thus are able to protect microvascular endothelial cells under inflammatory conditions.
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