Breaking Through the Blood Brain Barrier

Neurological disorders can be amongst the most frightening to hear when being diagnosed by a doctor. The brain is the most complex organ in the human body as well as the control system for every function within it.  The blood brain barrier (BBB) provides cerebral vasculature which offers a layer of protection for maintaining homeostasis to neuronal function within the brain. While this barrier provides the highest form of protection, it can also prevent entry of drugs, making treatment of disorders of the central nervous system extremely difficult.

Disorders of the central nervous system can be divided into both extrinsic and intrinsic disorders. Extrinsic meaning caused by outside factors effecting the body and intrinsic meaning occurring naturally.  Extrinsic disorders include multiple sclerosis, meningitis, and encephalitis. Multiple Sclerosis can be caused by autoimmune reactions, infection, or trauma. Meningitis and encephalitis can be caused by bacterial or viral infections as well as autoimmune responses. Intrinsic disorders can be acute such as ischemia, hypoxia, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), or chronic such as diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s. These disorders are all occurring within the brain and therefore require a treatment that can reach it.

Visikol’s BBB Assay

The BBB protects the brain from fluctuation of different components, which include plasma composition and pathogenic agents, in order to maintain the homeostasis by restricting regular flow of ions, peptides, proteins, and cells. Many therapeutics have issues when attempting to cross this complex barrier, which is why it is so vital to have a working model outside of the human body. Visikol has launched a BBB in vitro assay for assessing the penetration of compounds across the barrier as well as to assess the effect the compound caused directly on the permeability of the barrier.

Scientists at Visikol utilized Fujifilm iCell human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) derived Astrocytes, Pericytes, and Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cells to form the barrier in a transwell system. Human iPSCs which when derived into induced Brain Endothelial Cells allow for high TEER values, functional transporters, tight junctions, and low permeability when used as a Blood Brain Barrier. While allowing for less invasive procedures of collection, this method will also help to decrease the need for an in vivo model.

As leaders in the field of advanced cell culture and imaging, researchers in Visikol’s Pharmacology and Drug Discovery division are skilled in toxicity assessment and screening in 2D and 3D cellular based assays. The BBB assay at Visikol has shown a high TEER and a correlation with results found in vivo.

If you are interested in learning more about this assay or any of the other many new research opportunities at Visikol, please reach out to our team. We are always interested in working together with our clients as a team to develop customized assays to best suit their needs.


Rosenberg, G. A. (2012, July). Neurological diseases in relation to the blood-brain barrier. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from

2022-07-12T13:46:12-05:00Tags: , , |

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