Author(s): Betz AL, Betz AL
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Abstract Capillaries in the brain are formed by a uniquely specialized endothelial cell that regulates the movement of substances between blood and brain. Although they provide an impermeable barrier to some solutes, brain capillary endothelial cells facilitate the transcapillary exchange of others. In addition, they contain specific enzymes that contribute to a metabolic blood-brain barrier by limiting the movement of compounds such as neurotransmitters across the capillary wall. Studies of sodium and potassium transport by brain capillaries indicate that the endothelial cell contains distinct types of ion transport systems on the two sides of the capillary wall, i.e., the luminal and antiluminal membranes of the endothelial cell. As a result, specific solutes can be pumped across the capillary against an electrochemical gradient. These transport systems are likely to play a role in the active secretion of fluid from blood to brain and in maintaining a constant concentration of ions in the brain's interstitial fluid. In this way, the brain capillary endothelium is structurally and functionally related to an epithelium.
This article was published in Fed Proc
and referenced in Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology