Important insights into the molecular mechanism of T cell extravasation across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) have already been obtained using immortalized mouse brain endothelioma cell lines (bEnd). However, compared with bEnd, primary brain endothelial cells have been shown to establish better barrier characteristics, including complex tight junctions and low permeability. In this study, we asked whether bEnd5 and primary mouse brain microvascular endothelial cells (pMBMECs) were equally suited as in vitro models with which to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of T cell extravasation across the BBB. We found that both in vitro BBB models equally supported both T cell adhesion under static and physiologic flow conditions, and T cell crawling on the endothelial surface against the direction of flow. In contrast, distances of T cell crawling on pMBMECs were strikingly longer than on bEnd5, whereas diapedesis of T cells across pMBMECs was dramatically reduced compared with bEnd5. Thus, both in vitro BBB models are suited to study T cell adhesion. However, because pMBMECs better reflect endothelial BBB specialization in vivo, we propose that more reliable information about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of T cell diapedesis across the BBB can be attained using pMBMECs.