Blood-brain barrier transport of cytokines: a mechanism for neuropathology

Curr Pharm Des. 2005;11(8):973-84. doi: 10.2174/1381612053381684.


Cytokines circulating in the blood affect CNS function through a variety of pathways. One of these pathways is by being transported directly across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Transport of blood-borne cytokines across the BBB is now known to be an operational pathway by which cytokines can directly affect CNS functions. Cytokine transport across the BBB, however, is a complex event. Not all cytokines are transported and, for those which are, transport rates differ among cytokines, among brain regions, with physiological circumstances, and with disease. Here we address some of the major principles and concepts relating to cytokine transport and BBB function which have emerged as important to neuroimmunology and neuropathology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Permeability
  • Receptors, Cytokine / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Cytokine