Natural Sciences Colloquium
Students are welcome!
Dr. Anuska Andjelkovic-Zochowski, MD, PhD
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Title: Blood brain barrier - Guardian of brain homeostasis: The facts, challenges and opportunities
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is dynamic fluid membrane positioned at the interface between blood and brain, and is specialized in firm regulation of the exchange of compounds and cells between two entities. Having ability to adapt to the needs of brain and to respond to physiological changes, the BBB plays fundamental role in brain homeostasis. The BBB is formed by an interdependent network of brain capillary endothelial cells, endowed with barrier properties, and perivascular cells (glial cells, pericytes) responsible for inducing and maintaining those properties. The restrictive angioarchitecture of the BBB is due to the presence of junctional complexes between the cerebral endothelial cells that limit paracellular diffusion. Under healthy conditions, this largely prevents the extravasation of large and small solutes (unless specific transporters are present) and prevents migration of any type of blood-borne cells. However, this is changed in many disease conditions - BBB “opening” triggers and/or fuels the brain dysfunction. This dedicated guardian of health may also represent the colossal obstacle for treatment of brain disease. Drug delivery is challenge even when the barrier is leaky. Modulating, “open-close”, BBB represents challenge and opportunity to treat many disease of the nervous system.