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Placenta. 2017 Jun;54:111-116. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2016.12.005. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

Review: The blood-brain barrier; protecting the developing fetal brain.

Author information

1
The University of Queensland, Perinatal Research Centre, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Herston QLD 4029, Australia.
2
The University of Queensland, Perinatal Research Centre, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Herston QLD 4029, Australia. Electronic address: t.bjorkman@uq.edu.au.

Abstract

While placental function is fundamental to normal fetal development, the blood-brain barrier provides a second checkpoint critical to protecting the fetal brain and ensuring healthy brain development. The placenta is considered the key barrier between the mother and fetus, regulating delivery of essential nutrients, removing waste as well as protecting the fetus from potentially noxious substances. However, disturbances to the maternal environment and subsequent adaptations to placental function may render the placenta ineffective for providing a suitable environment for the developing fetus and to providing sufficient protection from harmful substances. The developing brain is particularly vulnerable to changes in the maternal/fetal environment. Development of the blood-brain barrier and maturation of barrier transporter systems work to protect the fetal brain from exposure to drugs, excluding them from the fetal CNS. This review will focus on the role of the 'other' key barrier during gestation - the blood-brain barrier - which has been shown to be functional as early as 8 weeks' gestation.

KEYWORDS:

Blood-brain barrier; Drug transporters; Fetal brain development; P-glycoprotein

PMID:
27939102
DOI:
10.1016/j.placenta.2016.12.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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