About the Blood Brain Barrier

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the specialized system of capillary endothelial cells that protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood stream, while supplying the brain with the required nutrients for proper function. Unlike peripheral capillaries that allow relatively free exchange of substance across / between cells, the BBB strictly limits transport into the brain through both physical (tight junctions) and metabolic (enzymes) barriers. Thus the BBB is often the rate-limiting factor in determining permeation of therapeutic drugs into the brain. Additionally, BBB breakdown / dysregulation is theorized to be a key component in central nervous system (CNS) associated pathologies. BBB investigation is an ever growing and dynamic field studied by pharmacologists, neuroscientists, pathologists, physiologists, and clinical practitioners.