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J Neurosci Res. 2005 Feb 15;79(4):421-7.

Where is the blood-brain barrier ... really?

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Blood-Brain Barrier Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030, USA.


Few terms in the biomedical lexicon are as widely recognized as the phrase blood-brain barrier (BBB). Indeed, it immediately conjures up a "barricade" between the blood and the brain, a feature often considered more obstacle than safeguard. In truth, the BBB performs in both capacities, and it is precisely this duality that imparts such a vital role to the BBB in influencing physiological and pathophysiological processes in the CNS. Although the concept is more than a century old, the BBB continues to remain enigmatic in both substance and idea, with seemingly resolved issues once again beckoning for clarification. In this regard, recent technological advancements, such as sequencing of the human genome and development of microarray analysis, have illuminated novel aspects of vascular gene expression and provoked reconsideration of the cellular and biochemical makeup of the BBB. In light of the critical impact of the BBB in the realms of science and medicine, this Mini-Review will revisit the topic of the composition of the BBB, specifically highlighting how recent developments in endothelial biology have prompted a reevaluation of its precise vascular location. We have intentionally avoided discussing generalized features of the BBB, as these have been skillfully described elsewhere as noted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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