The molecular constituents of the blood-brain barrier

Trends Neurosci. 2015 Oct;38(10):598-608. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.08.003.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) maintains the optimal microenvironment in the central nervous system (CNS) for proper brain function. The BBB comprises specialized CNS endothelial cells with fundamental molecular properties essential for the function and integrity of the BBB. The restrictive nature of the BBB hinders the delivery of therapeutics for many neurological disorders. In addition, recent evidence shows that BBB dysfunction can precede or hasten the progression of several neurological diseases. Despite the physiological significance of the BBB in health and disease, major discoveries of the molecular regulators of BBB formation and function have occurred only recently. This review highlights recent findings describing the molecular determinants and core cellular pathways that confer BBB properties on CNS endothelial cells.

Keywords: blood–brain barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism*
  • Humans