Astrocyte-endothelial interactions at the blood-brain barrier

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Jan;7(1):41-53. doi: 10.1038/nrn1824.


The blood-brain barrier, which is formed by the endothelial cells that line cerebral microvessels, has an important role in maintaining a precisely regulated microenvironment for reliable neuronal signalling. At present, there is great interest in the association of brain microvessels, astrocytes and neurons to form functional 'neurovascular units', and recent studies have highlighted the importance of brain endothelial cells in this modular organization. Here, we explore specific interactions between the brain endothelium, astrocytes and neurons that may regulate blood-brain barrier function. An understanding of how these interactions are disturbed in pathological conditions could lead to the development of new protective and restorative therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / physiology*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / cytology*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Tight Junctions / physiology