Transferrin receptor on endothelium of brain capillaries

Nature. 1984 Nov 8-14;312(5990):162-3. doi: 10.1038/312162a0.


The blood/brain barrier prevents the passive diffusion of proteins and metabolites from cerebral blood vessels into tissue spaces around neuronal and glial cells. To provide nutrients for these cells, transport mechanisms must exist and indeed have been demonstrated for metabolites. We now show that monoclonal antibodies against rat and human transferrin receptors label blood capillaries in the brain but not in other tissues. In the rat this labelling occurs after injection of antibody into the blood, thus the receptors seem to be accessible at the endothelial surface. It is possible that transferrin receptors are expressed on these cells to allow transport of transferrin (and thus iron) into brain tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Capillaries / cytology
  • Capillaries / metabolism
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Endothelium / cytology
  • Endothelium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / analysis*
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transferrin / analysis*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Transferrin