The blood-brain barrier in health and disease

Ann Neurol. 2012 Nov;72(5):648-72. doi: 10.1002/ana.23648.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a term used to describe a series of properties possessed by the vasculature of the central nervous system (CNS) that tightly regulate the movement of ions, molecules, and cells between the blood and the CNS. This barrier is crucial to provide the appropriate environment to allow for proper neural function, as well as protect the CNS from injury and disease. In this review, I discuss the cellular and molecular composition of the BBB and how the development and function of the BBB is regulated by interactions with the CNS microenvironment. I further discuss what is known about BBB dysfunction during CNS injury and disease, as well as methodology used to deliver drugs across the BBB to the CNS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier* / metabolism
  • Blood-Brain Barrier* / pathology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier* / physiopathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology*