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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1996 Jul;18(4):289-99.

Entry of pathogens into the central nervous system.

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Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is formed by the tight junctions of the cerebral capillary endothelium and the choroid plexus epithelium. The molecular anatomy of the tight junction resembles that of a polarized, transporting epithelium, suggesting some model cell culture systems can provide insight into traffic into the central nervous system. Pathogens target both the endothelium, causing encephalitis, and the choroid plexus, leading to meningitis. Routes of entry are diverse including paracellular and transcellular penetration. In addition, circulating microbial products can induce loss of BBB function. Understanding the heterogeneous molecular interactions between pathogens and the BBB may provide avenues to interrupt the devastating neurological sequelae that accompany central nervous system infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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