Blood-brain Barrier Transporters

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a dynamic interface between the peripheral circulation and the central nervous system (CNS). The basic element of the BBB, the neurovascular unit, is a complex structure composed of capillary endothelial cells (ECs), astrocytes, pericytes, and neurons. The anatomical integration of these cells and their interaction with additional perivascular elements form a selective diffusion barrier that regulates the movement of substances into and out of the CNS. Only small lipid soluble molecules are able to passively pass through the BBB. Movement of all other molecules across the BBB is dependent on the presence of transporter proteins in brain ECs. Dysfunction of the BBB is associated with a multitude of neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.