NOV 21, 2017 4:13 PM PST

The Blood-Brain Barrier: A Barrier To Drug Uptake

WRITTEN BY: Courtney Schaal

The brain is one of our most vital organs pertinent to life and all of our bodily functions.  So it is not surprising that we come equipped with a blood-brain barrier to ensure that not everything that enters the bloodstream or the body is able to make it to the brain.  It acts as both a filter and protectant.  The brain possesses epithelial-like tight junctions within its capillary endothelium which is thought to contribute to its ability to provide such a barrier.  It has long been known that the blood-brain barrier prevents the uptake of a large majority of therapeutic agents into the brain, posing a challenge for researchers seeking to treat diseases of the brain such as cancers and other diseases.  There are certain chemical properties that make a compound more likely to cross the blood-brain barrier which are not present in most drugs; however, there are groups of chemists who specialize in optimizing and re-engineering drugs for this exact purpose: to cross the blood brain barrier and successfully carry out their intended function.  This video highlights the physiology of the bood-brain barrier.

Sources: Wikipedia, Journal of Cebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University, Youtube

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