, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 23–30 | Cite as

The blood–brain barrier and its regulation by NF-κB

  • Jan WenzelEmail author
  • Markus SchwaningerEmail author
Review article


The brain is protected by a tight barrier between the blood and parenchyma. This so-called blood–brain barrier protects the brain from invading pathogens, infiltrating immune cells, and the extravasation of serum proteins. Beside pericytes and astrocytes mainly endothelial cells form this barrier.

Inflammation leads to an increase in the permeability of the blood–brain barrier. NF-κB is activated during inflammation and is a key regulator of inflammatory processes. In brain endothelial cells NF-κB protects the blood–brain barrier. Loss of the NF-κB activating protein NEMO in brain endothelial cells leads to endothelial cell death, increased permeability, and epilepsy in mice as well as in humans with the hereditary disease incontinentia pigmenti. Therefore, inflammatory mediators are able to disturb but also to protect the blood–brain barrier.


Blood–brain barrier NF-κB NEMO Endothelial cells Inflammation 


Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

J. Wenzel and M. Schwaninger state that there are no conflicts of interest.

The accompanying manuscript does not include studies on humans or animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Experimentelle und Klinische Pharmakologie und ToxikologieUniversität zu LübeckLübeckDeutschland

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