Biology and Models of the Blood-Brain Barrier

Cynthia Hajal, Baptiste Le Roi, Roger D. Kamm, Ben M. Maoz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is one of the most selective endothelial barriers. An understanding of its cellular, morphological, and biological properties in health and disease is necessary to develop therapeutics that can be transported from blood to brain. In vivo models have provided some insight into these features and transport mechanisms adopted at the brain, yet they have failed as a robust platform for the translation of results into clinical outcomes. In this article, we provide a general overview of major BBB features and describe various models that have been designed to replicate this barrier and neurological pathologies linked with the BBB. We propose several key parameters and design characteristics that can be employed to engineer physiologically relevant models of the blood-brain interface and highlight the need for a consensus in the measurement of fundamental properties of this barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-384
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Biomedical Engineering
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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