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Review Article

Potential Pathways for CNS Drug Delivery Across the Blood-Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier

[ Vol. 22 , Issue. 35 ]


Nathalie Strazielle and Jean-François Ghersi-Egea   Pages 5463 - 5476 ( 14 )


The blood-brain interfaces restrict the cerebral bioavailability of pharmacological compounds. Various drug delivery strategies have been developed to improve drug penetration into the brain. Most strategies target the microvascular endothelium forming the bloodbrain barrier proper. Targeting the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier formed by the epithelium of the choroid plexuses in addition to the blood-brain barrier may offer addedvalue for the treatment of central nervous system diseases. For instance, targeting the CSF spaces, adjacent tissue, or the choroid plexuses themselves is of interest for the treatment of neuroinflammatory and infectious diseases, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, selected brain tumors, hydrocephalus or neurohumoral dysregulation. Selected CSF-borne materials seem to reach deep cerebral structures by mechanisms that need to be understood in the context of chronic CSF delivery. Drug delivery through both barriers can reduce CSF sink action towards parenchymal drugs. Finally, targeting the choroid plexus-CSF system can be especially relevant in the context of neonatal and pediatric diseases of the central nervous system. Transcytosis appears the most promising mechanism to target in order to improve drug delivery through brain barriers. The choroid plexus epithelium displays strong vesicular trafficking and secretory activities that deserve to be explored in the context of cerebral drug delivery. Folate transport and exosome release into the CSF, plasma protein transport, and various receptor-mediated endocytosis pathways may prove useful mechanisms to exploit for efficient drug delivery into the CSF. This calls for a clear evaluation of transcytosis mechanisms at the blood-CSF barrier, and a thorough evaluation of CSF drug delivery rates.


Choroid plexus, cerebrospinal fluid, cerebral drug delivery, receptor-mediated transcytosis, folate receptor, LRP proteins, transferrin receptor, insulin receptor.


Blood-Brain Interfaces Exploratory Platform BIP, Lyon Neurosciences Research Center, Faculty of medicine Laennec, Rue G Paradin, 69008, Lyon, France.

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