The protective barriers of the brain provide a complex series of physical and chemical obstacles to movement of macromolecules from the periphery into the central nervous system. Studies on these barriers have been focused on two main research areas: (i) anatomical and physiological descriptions of their properties, including during development where functioning barriers are likely to be important for normal neuronal growth; and (ii), investigations of these barriers during disease and attempts at overcoming their defenses in order to deliver drugs to the central nervous system. Both fields are now advanced by the application of molecular gene expression studies of cerebral endothelia (blood vasculature, site of the blood-brain barrier) and choroid plexus epithelia (site of the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier) from developing and adult brains, particularly with respect to solute-linked carriers and other transporters. These new techniques provide a wealth of information on the changing nature of transporters at barrier interfaces during normal development and following disease. This review outlines published findings from transcriptome and qPCR studies of expression of genes coding for transporters in these barriers, with a focus on developing brain. The findings clearly support earlier published physiological data describing specific transport mechanisms across barrier interfaces both in the adult and in particular in the developing brain.
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