Drug and gene delivery to the brain: the vascular route

Neuron. 2002 Nov 14;36(4):555-8. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)01054-1.


Brain drug development of either small molecule or large molecule (recombinant proteins, gene medicines) neurotherapeutics has been limited, owing to the restrictive transport properties of the brain microvasculature, which forms the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vivo. Widespread drug delivery to the brain, while not feasible via craniotomy and intracerebral injection, is possible if the drug is delivered to brain via the transvascular route through the BBB. Novel brain drug delivery and drug targeting strategies can be developed from an understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of the brain microvascular and BBB transport processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / drug effects
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation / drug effects*
  • Microcirculation / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / drug effects
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins