Skip to main content

Three Dimensional Microengineered Human Blood–Brain Barrier Model for Unravelling Nanoparticle Transport Mechanisms

By 10th February 2020No Comments

The following study was conducted by Scientists from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; Emory University, Atlanta, USA; Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Study is published in Nature Communications Journal as detailed below. 

Nature Communications (2020); Volume 11, Article number: 175

Microengineered Human Blood–Brain Barrier Platform for Understanding Nanoparticle Transport Mechanisms


Challenges in drug development of neurological diseases remain mainly ascribed to the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Despite the valuable contribution of animal models to drug discovery, it remains difficult to conduct mechanistic studies on the barrier function and interactions with drugs at molecular and cellular levels. Here we present a microphysiological platform that recapitulates the key structure and function of the human BBB and enables 3D mapping of nanoparticle distributions in the vascular and perivascular regions. We demonstrate on-chip mimicry of the BBB structure and function by cellular interactions, key gene expressions, low permeability, and 3D astrocytic network with reduced reactive gliosis and polarized aquaporin-4 (AQP4) distribution. Moreover, our model precisely captures 3D nanoparticle distributions at cellular levels and demonstrates the distinct cellular uptakes and BBB penetrations through receptor-mediated transcytosis. Our BBB platform may present a complementary in vitro model to animal models for prescreening drug candidates for the treatment of neurological diseases.


Nature Communications



Ahn, S.I., Sei, Y.J., Park, H. et al. Microengineered human blood–brain barrier platform for understanding nanoparticle transport mechanisms. Nat Commun 11, 175 (2020).