The Blood-Brain Barrier in Health and Disease

The Blood-Brain Barrier in Health and Disease

William G. Mayhan, Denise M. Arrick
ISBN: 9781615047390 | PDF ISBN: 9781615047406
Copyright © 2017 | 78 Pages | Publication Date: December, 2016

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a complex and dynamic structure that protects the brain from cells within the vasculature, from the immune system and from pathogens. This barrier is present in arterioles, capillaries and venules and is formed at the level of adjacent endothelial cells, which are coupled to astrocytes, microglia, neurons and pericytes. The structure of this endothelial barrier is unique among endothelia of other organ systems and is composed of complexes made up of tight, gap and adherens junctions. In addition, it is the responsibility of the surrounding cellular elements to maintain the integrity of the junctional complexes and restrict the entry of substances from the blood into the brain. Changes in permeability of the BBB during physiologic and pathophysiologic conditions involve alterations in specific transporters at the level of the endothelium, activation of specific cellular second messenger pathways and/or the dissolution of the junctional complexes composing the BBB. This book focuses on various aspects that account for the formation and maintenance of the BBB, and on disease states that compromise this barrier.

Table of Contents

Characteristics of the Blood-Brain Barrier
Ultrastructural Components of the Blood-Brain Barrier
Cellular Components of the Blood-Brain Barrier
Compromising the Blood-Brain Barrier
About the Authors

About the Author(s)

William G. Mayhan, Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota
Dr. William Mayhan is a Professor of Physiology and the Dean of Basic Biomedical Sciences in the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota. Ms. Denise Arrick is an Instructor of Anatomy within the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences in the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota. Dr. Mayhan received his B.S. in Biology from Creighton University and his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Mayhan has served on the Editorial Boards for the American Journal of Physiology (Heart and Circulatory Physiology), Eye and Brain, Microcirculation, Microvascular Research and Stroke. They are both reviewers for several scientific journals. Dr. Mayhan has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, and book chapters. Together, they have published over 25 articles on the cerebral microcirculation. Dr. Mayhan serves on several local, national and international societies, and on study sections for many extramural granting agencies, including the NIH and American Heart Association. His research has been funded continuously for over 30 years.

Denise M. Arrick, Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota
Ms. Arrick received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and her M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology (Dr. D.N. Granger) at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport. Their current research is focused on the role of the endothelium in the control of vascular function and the blood-brain barrier during health and disease, and the influence of gender and exercise training on the cerebral microcirculation.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is one of the unique aspects of the circulation to the brain. The BBB plays an absolutely essential role in brain health, and it has been known for years that BBB integrity and function are impacted by stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke). In recent years, it has become apparent that virtually every major category of neurological and psychiatric disorder is associated with changes in the BBB. Examples include migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, depression, autism spectrum disorder, and traumatic brain injury. Thus, this monograph on the BBB is a very timely publication.

The work is presented by two experts with many contributions in this area including sites of BBB injury, the role of veins, the impact of major risk factors for cerebrovascular disease (including hypertension and diabetes), and the importance of hemodynamic factors in BBB integrity. The text is organized into four major sections, supported by numerous figures and over 300 references. The presentation provides an up-to-date synthesis of work in the area. Major sections include characteristics of the BBB, ultrastructure and molecular details, along with the impact of specific cell types. Similarities and differences between the BBB and the cerebrospinal fluid barriers are included. Lastly, there are sections on effects of major diseases on the BBB and their consequences. Because the biology of the BBB in an area that only continues to grow n interest from both basic and clinical researchers, this should be a very useful text. It is also an excellent companion to the second edition of The Cerebral Circulation by Dr. Marilyn Cipolla within the same series on Integrated Systems Physiology: From Molecule to Function to Disease.
Frank M. Faraci, PhD - University of Iowa

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