Neurovascular unit: biology of blood-brain barrier (BBB) in neurodegenerative diseases

(Berislav V. Zlokovic, University of Rochester)

The brain, which is 2% of the body’s mass, receives 20% of the cardiac output and is responsible for 20% of the body’s global energy consumption; blood flow and metabolism are highly crucial for brain health.

In multiple neurodegenerative diseases, there is a breakdown of the blood brain barrier, which leads to barrier dysfunction, accumulation of toxins, neuronal injury and inflammation.

At the same time, the BBB presents a significant hurdle in the CNS drug discovery process – drug candidates need to have the properties of good CNS penetrance and distribution in order to be efficacious.

  • 98% of drugs lack BBB penetrance.