This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Blood Brain Barrier Essay

3039 words - 12 pages

The brain is permeated by a vast network of tiny blood vessels called capillaries- so tiny and thin that blood cells have to pass through in single file. In the brain alone there are enough capillaries that if you laid them all out end to end they would stretch from Tucson to Tijuana.

These capillaries are surrounded by a single layer of cells.

That layer of cells forms a barrier between the capillaries and the cells and fluid of the brain.

These barrier-forming cells are called "endothelial cells". You can think of "endothelial" as a synonym for "lining" or even just "barrier".

When we use the phrase Blood Brain Barrier, (which for obvious reasons we'll refer to as BBB from here on out!), we're talking about all of these endothelial ("barrier") cells collectively.

Function of the BBB

The cell membranes of the BBB contain transport proteins. If the brain is a nightclub, the transport proteins are bouncers. They decide who gets in, and who gets kicked out.

On this website we'll be introducing you to the most important transport proteins- OATP, MDR1, and MDR2.

Don't let all the acronyms intimidate you- read carefully and you'll be fine. If the nightclub/bouncer analogy doesn't work for you, you could also think of them as little vacuum pumps and blowers. An extremely detailed view of their actual mechanisms is beyond current knowledge.

Importance of the BBB

Without the BBB, undesirable molecules could freely diffuse from the capillaries to the fluid that surrounds the brain cells.

These undesirable molecules include:

TOXINS- poisons taken in from the environment.
IONS- that might upset the delicate electrochemical gradients of the cerebral fluid.
ACIDS and BASES- that might upset the cerebral fluid's delicate pH balance.

These substance often diffuse into the cerebral fluid anyway, in spite of the BBB- but the BBB is not just a static barrier- it incorporates mechanisms to pump such substances back out once they've gotten in.

The BBB also incorporates mechanisms to shepherd or transport certain substances *in*:

GLUCOSE- the universal energy source, which is needed by every cell in your body...
OXYGEN- electron acceptor par excellence, do without it and die...
CERTAIN IONS- cations, anions, Chlorine, Calcium, etc.. involved in nervous system transmission...Â

Finally, the BBB also lets various substances in because it either can't pump them out or its mechanisms can't tell the difference between them and one of the substances that it naturally tranports across:

ETHANOL- enters by the same pathways that let glucose in, which is why drinking alcohol affects the brain...
VITAMIN C...
THC, NICOTINE, CAFFEINE...

Obstacles For Scientists

The BBB evolved as an extremely tight barrier to protect the brain from potentially toxic compounds. Though it is an indispensable part of the Central Nervous System, its tightness makes delivering therapeutic drugs to the brain very difficult.

Question:...

Find Another Essay On Blood Brain Barrier

The Brain By Sexy Body a research paper of 11 pages

3346 words - 13 pages produce the cerebrospinal fluid.) produce a protective cerebrospinal fluid (cerebrospinal fluid: this what the brain floats in.) This fluid is what the brain literally floats in.A third protective measure taken by the brain is called the blood brain barrier (blood brain barrier: A set of special capillaries (capillaries: Tiny blood vessels, that are only found in the brain). Their purpose is to filter the blood so only oxygen, glucose (glucose

Alarming Side Effects of Artificial Sweeteners

1121 words - 4 pages qualities, the use of aspartame has been controversial since its creation due to its negative side effects that have been linked to the use of the chemically produced sugar. Due to the ever increasing use of aspartame, researchers have discovered that aspartame has been closely associated with the function of the brain. In the human brain, there is a blood-brain barrier that acts as a system of specialized capillary structures that are

Bacterial Meningitis: Pathogenesis, Assessment Findings, and Treatments

1515 words - 6 pages brain barrier surrounding the brain is meant to prevent potentially harmful substances in the blood from entering the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain (Huether et al., 2008). Astrocytes are the neuroglia that form the blood brain barrier and the tight junctions within the blood brain barrier (Huether et al., 2008). The blood brain barrier is another form of protection that the meningeal bacterium breaks through. The replication and the breaking

A basic essay discussing how the brain sends messages throughout the body, how chemicals affect the brain, and explains the left and right brain

1763 words - 7 pages ; causing more brain activity in those brain neurons. Also the increase of dopamine that comes with MAO inhibitors prolongs serotonin and Norepinephrine lifetimes.5-HTP is the immediate chemical precursor to serotonin. And when added to ones system cross the blood/brain barrier and increase the neurons store of serotonin, causing positive moods. It's an herbal remedy that comes from the African Griffonia Simplicifolia plant.The left and right

Food for Thought

1264 words - 6 pages The aging brain can play host to numerous neurological diseases. While some can be brought about due to genetic predisposition, nutrition plays an important roll in the development and eventual aging of the brain. In fact, the brain shrinks and can lose 5-10% of its weight with age. According to the Framington Offspring Cohort Study; smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can accelerate brain shrinkage. While good diet choices and

The Spirit Molecule (DMT): An Endogenous Psychoactive

1502 words - 6 pages neurotransmitter found naturally in the human body and takes part in normal brain metabolism. Twenty-five years ago, Japanese scientists discovered that the brain actively transports DMT across the blood-brain barrier into its tissues. "I know of no other psychedelic drug that the brain treats with such eagerness," said one of the scientists. What intrigued me were the questions, how and why does DMT alter our perception so drastically if it is already

Kinetics of parasitic load in different tissues of murine toxoplasmosis after immunization by excretory secretory antigens using Real time Q-PCR

1201 words - 5 pages trimester, and infection intensity. Therefore the recent factor, parasite load has an important role in pathogenesis of parasite in different tissues such as brain [5, 25]. The results presented here contribute to our understanding of the pathogenesis of the early stages of infection. The early detection of parasite DNA in the brain, showing passage of Toxoplasma through the blood-brain barrier within 24 h after i.p infection with tachyzoites of

Current Treatment Strategies for Parkinson's Disease; Are the costs to the community of developing new treatment strategies justified?

1293 words - 5 pages pass through the blood-brain barrier, the introduction of additional dopamine neurotransmitter into the bloodstream isn't an idyllic treatment. The current leading drug for the treatment of PD symptoms is Levodopa (or L-dopa), which although itself passes through the blood-brain barrier, transforms to dopamine quickly before reaching the brain. Consequently large amounts need to be taken, which is particularly detrimental when it is noted that

How the Nervous System Works

729 words - 3 pages mainly of nerves and neurons. The PNS connects the central nervous system to limbs and organs of the body. However, unlike the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system is not protected by bone or the blood-brain barrier, making it easy for it to be exposed to toxins and injuries. The central nervous system contains the brain, which is the control center of the body. In the brain there are three main constituents: the forebrain, the

Methamphetamine and Brain Function

1701 words - 7 pages multiple Stroop tests. The additional area of investigation in this study shows an increasing implication that the whole prefrontal cortex is negatively affected by use of methamphetamine. (Salo et al., 2013) In a study by Ramirez et al., (2009) the effect of methamphetamine on blood brain barrier (BBB) function was explored. The study was performed on mice that were weight-matched and placed at random in assorted groups. The mice were administered

History of Chemistry

1000 words - 4 pages minds. For instance, scaffolds are being constructed to be able to relocate into a patient with spinal cord trauma. In hope of the researchers’ work, this will give the patients the ability to move or feel. Moreover, drug delivery systems are being analyzed because some brains have disorders that will only let certain drugs travel from the blood to the brain. That patient has to get the drug injected into them through their spine being that the drug

Similar Essays

Brain Disorders: Blood Brain Barrier Essay

3422 words - 14 pages Brain disorders are major concern of modern world in terms of economic liability and human suffering with the increased number of aged population as a result of the long life expectancy. The main challenge in the treatment of many of the neurodegenerative diseases is the presence of a polarized layer of endothelial cells that comprises the blood–brain barrier (BBB) which precludes access of systemically administered medicines to brain

Brain Diseases: Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease

2558 words - 11 pages brain is stringently protected from the blood by the ‘blood brain barrier’, even then it is susceptible to various infectious diseases like meningitis, influenza in children, Kuru etc. Those suffering from any of these conditions have to bear various troubles throughout the life. The treatment of various brain disorders is a challenging task because the brain under the surveillance of the blood brain barrier. Blood brain barrier is a physical

Alternatives Of Effective Drug Delivery To The Brain

3275 words - 14 pages The development of drug carrier and delivery systems to increase delivery to the brain has been and continues to be the subject of much research efforts. Most approaches utilized to enhance delivery of the drug to the brain focused on circumventing one major obstacle: the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The blood-brain barrier is primarily composed of brain capillary endothelial cells and is a highly selective barrier for both endogenous and

Pathophysiology Of Meningitis And Encephalitis Essay

1572 words - 6 pages way of the blood stream or respiratory tract. Because the bacteria have a capsule composed of polysaccharides, they easily evade phagocytosis by the neutrophils and the complement system (a component of the immune response). The bacteria then travel to the meninges, the membranes that encase the brain. The circulatory system and the central nervous system are separated by three layers called the blood-brain barrier: the dura mater (the outermost