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Blood-brain barrier

Scientists develop promising in vitro blood-brain barrier model

Scientists have developed an in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) model. In the image, a light micrograph of a blood-brain barrier.

Source: C J Guerin, PhD, MRC Toxicology Unit / Science Photo Library

Scientists have developed an in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) model (image shows a light micrograph of a BBB)

An altered blood-brain barrier (BBB) in childhood has been linked to cerebral palsy and to complications from traumatic brain injury. Research into these conditions may be facilitated by the availability of a synthetic paediatric BBB on a chip.

Called the B3C, this physiologically realistic model has two compartments – vascular and tissue. In a proof-of-principle study reported in Nature[1], researchers grew rat brain endothelial cells on one side of the chip and then evaluated the barrier formed by the cells under static and flow conditions.

They found that the barrier developed realistic tight junctions and had different permeability depending on the size of the molecule trying to cross to the tissue side, making it a promising in vitro model of BBB function in health and disease.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20067326

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