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What is the blood-brain barrier (not)?

Bechmann, Ingo, Galea, Ian and Perry, V. Hugh (2007) What is the blood-brain barrier (not)? Trends in Immunology, 28, (1), pp. 5-11. (doi:10.1016/

Record type: Article


In 1900, summarizing his experiments with toxins and Ehrlich's earlier observations with intravital dyes, the Berlin physician Lewandowski concluded that "brain capillaries must hold back certain molecules". Illustrating this phenomenon with persuasive beauty, the subsequently evolving metaphor of a 'Bluthirnschranke' (blood-brain barrier, BBB) gained wide acceptance, but the extension of its meaning into the context of inhibiting leukocyte recruitment into the brain is imprecise. On the basis of the original work by Ehrlich, Lewandowski and Goldmann we re-define the BBB as a capillary barrier for solutes, and clarify that leukocyte recruitment requires two differentially regulated steps: (i) passage across postcapillary venules into Virchow-Robin spaces, and (ii) subsequent progression across the glia limitans into the neuropil. We propose that the second step frequently involves perivascular antigen-recognition and the induction of ectoenzymes, for example matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).

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Published date: 1 January 2007


Local EPrints ID: 56604
ISSN: 1471-4906
PURE UUID: 203240de-e3f0-4f67-a8fe-fb5d5bcc0cd7
ORCID for Ian Galea: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 11 Aug 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:30

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