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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2012 May 15;64(7):629-39. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2011.12.005. Epub 2011 Dec 17.

Drug delivery to the brain in Alzheimer's disease: consideration of the blood-brain barrier.

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Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA , USA.


The successful treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) will require drugs that can negotiate the blood-brain barrier (BBB). However, the BBB is not simply a physical barrier, but a complex interface that is in intimate communication with the rest of the central nervous system (CNS) and influenced by peripheral tissues. This review examines three aspects of the BBB in AD. First, it considers how the BBB may be contributing to the onset and progression of AD. In this regard, the BBB itself is a therapeutic target in the treatment of AD. Second, it examines how the BBB restricts drugs that might otherwise be useful in the treatment of AD and examines strategies being developed to deliver drugs to the CNS for the treatment of AD. Third, it considers how drug penetration across the AD BBB may differ from the BBB of normal aging. In this case, those differences can complicate the treatment of CNS diseases such as depression, delirium, psychoses, and pain control in the AD population.

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