Inflammatory cell trafficking across the blood-brain barrier: chemokine regulation and in vitro models

Immunol Rev. 2012 Jul;248(1):228-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2012.01127.x.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the brain-specific capillary barrier that is critical for preventing toxic substances from entering the central nervous system (CNS). In contrast to vessels of peripheral organs, the BBB limits the exchange of inflammatory cells and mediators under physiological and pathological conditions. Clarifying these limitations and the role of chemokines in regulating the BBB would provide new insights into neuroprotective strategies in neuroinflammatory diseases. Because there is a paucity of in vitro BBB models, however, some mechanistic aspects of transmigration across the BBB still remain largely unknown. In this review, we summarize current knowledge of BBB cellular components, the multistep process of inflammatory cells crossing the BBB, functions of CNS-derived chemokines, and in vitro BBB models for transmigration, with a particular focus on new and recent findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / immunology*
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / immunology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Chemokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / immunology*
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine