Blood-brain barrier: Structural components and function under physiologic and pathologic conditions

Yuri Persidsky, Servio H. Ramirez, James Haorah, Georgette D. Kanmogne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

527 Scopus citations

Abstract

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the specialized system of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC) that shields the brain from toxic substances in the blood, supplies brain tissues with nutrients, and filters harmful compounds from the brain back to the bloodstream. The close interaction between BMVEC and other components of the neurovascular unit (astrocytes, pericytes, neurons, and basement membrane) ensures proper function of the central nervous system (CNS). Transport across the BBB is strictly limited through both physical (tight junctions) and metabolic barriers (enzymes, diverse transport systems). A functional polarity exists between the luminal and abluminal membrane surfaces of the BMVEC. As a result of restricted permeability, the BBB is a limiting factor for the delivery of therapeutic agents into the CNS. BBB breakdown or alterations in transport systems play an important role in the pathogenesis of many CNS diseases (HIV-1 encephalitis, Alzheimer's disease, ischemia, tumors, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease). Proinflammatory substances and specific disease-associated proteins often mediate such BBB dysfunction. Despite seemingly diverse underlying causes of BBB dysfunction, common intracellular pathways emerge for the regulation of the BBB structural and functional integrity. Better understanding of tight junction regulation and factors affecting transport systems will allow the development of therapeutics to improve the BBB function in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-236
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Keywords

  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Leukocyte migration
  • Multidrug resistance proteins
  • Neurovascular unit
  • Tight junctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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