Immune cell migration across the blood–brain barrier: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targeting

Engelhardt, Britta (2006). Immune cell migration across the blood–brain barrier: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targeting. Future neurology, 1(1), 47 - 56. London: Future Medicine Ltd 10.2217/14796708.1.1.47

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The endothelial blood–brain barrier (BBB) and the epithelial blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier protect the CNS from the constantly changing milieu within the bloodstream. The BBB strictly controls immune cell entry into the CNS, which is rare under physiological conditions. During a variety of pathological conditions of the CNS, such as viral or bacterial infections, or during inflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, immunocompetent cells readily traverse the BBB and subsequently enter the CNS parenchyma. Most of the available information on immune cell entry into the CNS is derived from studying experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for multiple sclerosis. Consequently, our current knowledge on traffic signals mediating immune cell entry across the BBB during immunosurveillance and disease results mainly from experimental data in the EAE model. Therefore, a large part of this review summarizes these findings. Similarly, the potential benefits and risks associated with therapeutic targeting of immune cell trafficking across the BBB will be discussed in the context of multiple sclerosis, since elucidation of the molecular mechanisms relevant to this disease have largely relied on the use of its in vivo model, EAE.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Theodor Kocher Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Engelhardt, Britta


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Future Medicine Ltd




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:51

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:21

Publisher DOI:


URI: (FactScience: 5338)

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