Advances in cell biology of blood-brain barrier transport

Semin Cell Biol. 1991 Dec;2(6):419-26.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is present in the brain of all vertebrates, and arises from epithelial-like high resistance tight junctions that join virtually all capillary endothelium in brain. Recent advances in understanding the cell biology of BBB transport are extending prior physiologic models. For example, glucose transport through the BBB is mediated by a protein that is expressed by the GLUT-1 glucose transporter gene and is asymmetrically localized on lumenal and ablumenal membranes of brain endothelium. Other examples of polarized function at the BBB include asymmetric distribution of endothelial surface charge and ectoenzymes. The tissue-specific gene expression within the brain capillary endothelium is believed to be orchestrated by neighboring cells such as astrocytes, the foot process of which cover more than 95% of the brain microvascular endothelium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cell Polarity
  • Endothelium / cytology
  • Endothelium / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological