Blood-Brain Barrier and Cell-Cell Interactions: Methods for Establishing In Vitro Models of the Blood-Brain Barrier and Transport Measurements

  • Michael Aschner
  • Vanessa A. Fitsanakis
  • Ana Paula Marreilha dos Santos
  • Luisa Olivi
  • Joseph P. Bressler
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 341)


This chapter describes in vitro methods for studying the Blood-Brain barrier. These methods include a cell line and isolated brain microvessels. The rat brain endothelial cell line 4 (RBE4) express many properties that are expressed by brain endothelial cells in vivo. Tissue culture methods allow the investigator to design experiments for studying transporters and permeability that would be much more difficult in vivo. A method for making preparations of isolated brain microvessels also is described. These preparations are highly enriched and also can be used for studying transport in vitro, but their short life span is a limitation. Two methods are discussed for measuring transport in cell culture. In one method, permeability is measured across a cell monolayer. This method is useful for measuring luminal and abluminal transport. The second method is especially designed for measuring the families of efflux transporters. These in vitro methods will complement many of the in vivo techniques, and they may be used as screening for more timely and expensive experiments, and also reducing the need for experimental animals.

Key Words

Blood-Brain barrier RBE4 cells brain microvessels transporters permeability multidrug resistance 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Aschner
    • 1
  • Vanessa A. Fitsanakis
    • 2
  • Ana Paula Marreilha dos Santos
    • 3
  • Luisa Olivi
    • 4
  • Joseph P. Bressler
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics Pharmacology and The Kennedy CenterVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashville
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashville
  3. 3.University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.The Kennedy Krieger InstituteJohn Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimore
  5. 5.Department of Environmental Health Sciences, The Kennedy Krieger InstituteJohn Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimore

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