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Revisiting the blood-brain barrier: A hard nut to crack in the transportation of drug molecules

Publication Type : Journal Article

Publisher : Brain Research Bulletin

Source : Brain Research Bulletin, Volume 160, p.121-140 (2020)

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Keywords : Active efflux, BBB dysfunction, blood-brain barrier, Transport

Campus : Kochi

School : School of Pharmacy

Department : Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Analysis

Year : 2020

Abstract : Barriers are the hallmark of a healthy physiology, blood-brain barrier (BBB) being a tough nut to crack for most of the antigens and chemical substances. The presence of tight junctions plays a remarkable role in defending the brain from antigenic and pathogenic attacks. BBB constitutes a diverse assemblage of multiple physical and chemical barriers that judiciously restrict the flux of blood solutes into and out of the brain. Restrictions through the paracellular pathway and the tight junctions between intercellular clefts, together create well regulated metabolic and transport barricades, critical to brain pathophysiology. The brain being impermeable to many essential metabolites and nutrients regulates transportation via specialized transport systems across the endothelial abluminal and luminal membranes. The epithelial cells enveloping capillaries of the choroid plexus regulates the transport of complement, growth factors, hormones, microelements, peptides and trace elements into ventricles. Nerve terminals, microglia, and pericytes associated with the endothelium support barrier induction and function, ensuring an optimally stable ionic microenvironment that facilitates neurotransmission, orchestrated by multiple ion channels (Na+, K+ Mg2+, Ca2+) and transporters. Brain pathology which can develop due to genetic mutations or secondary to other cerebrovascular, neurodegenerative diseases can cause aberration in the microvasculature of CNS which is the uniqueness of BBB. This can also alter BBB permeation and result in BBB breakdown and other neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis. The concluding section outlines contemporary trends in drug discovery, focusing on molecular determinants of BBB permeation and novel drug-delivery systems, such as dendrimers, liposomes, nanoparticles, nanogels, etc.

Cite this Research Publication : S. Harilal, Jose, J., Parambi, D. Grace Thom, Kumar, R., Unnikrishnan, M. Kesavan, Uddin, M. Sahab, Mathew, G. Elizabeth, Pratap, R., Marathakam, A., and Bijo Mathew, “Revisiting the blood-brain barrier: A hard nut to crack in the transportation of drug molecules”, Brain Research Bulletin, vol. 160, pp. 121-140, 2020.

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