Strategies to overcome the barrier: Use of nanoparticles as carriers and modulators of barrier properties

Ralf Rempe, Sandra Cramer, Ruirui Qiao, Hans Joachim Galla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) protects the brain from toxic substances within the bloodstream and keeps the brain's homeostasis stable. On the other hand, it also represents the main obstacle in the treatment of many CNS diseases. Among different techniques, nanoparticles have emerged as promising tools to enhance brain drug delivery of therapeutic molecules. For successful drug delivery, nanoparticles may either modulate BBB integrity or exploit transport systems present on the endothelium. In this review, we present two different nanoparticles to enhance brain drug delivery. Poly(butyl cyanoacrylate) nanoparticles were shown to induce a reversible disruption of the BBB in vitro which may be exploited by simultaneous injection of the drug in question. By coating the poly(butyl cyanoacrylate) nanoparticles with, e.g., ApoE, it is also possible to circumvent the BBB via the LDL-receptor. Another example of the use of receptor-mediated endocytosis to enhance brain uptake of nanoparticles are poly(ethylene glycol)-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles which are covalently attached to lactoferrin. These nanoparticles have been shown to facilitate the transport via the lactoferrin receptor, and so could then be used for magnetic resonance imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-726
Number of pages10
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Endocytosis
  • Lactoferrin
  • Nanoparticles
  • Tight junction

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