Transport of Proteins Across the Blood-Brain Barrier via the Transferrin Receptor

  • Phillip M. Friden
  • Lee R. Walus
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 331)


Unlike most other organs in the body, the brain is separated from the blood by a protective cellular barrier known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB, although essential in maintaining a defined biochemical environment within the brain, represents a formidable obstacle to the effective delivery of neuropharmaceutical agents from the bloodstream. The capillaries that supply blood to the tissues of the brain constitute this barrier (1,2). Brain capillary endothelial cells are joined together by tight intercellular junctions that form a continuous wall against the passive movement of substances from the blood to the brain. Also characteristic of these cells is a paucity of pinocytic vesicles, which limits the amount of non-selective fluid-phase transport across the capillary wall. Together, these features limit the penetration of blood-borne hydrophilic molecules into brain tissue.


Nerve Growth Factor Cholinergic Neuron Basal Forebrain Transferrin Receptor Brain Capillary Endothelial Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phillip M. Friden
    • 1
  • Lee R. Walus
    • 1
  1. 1.Alkermes, Inc.CambridgeUSA

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