Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, engineered a blood-brain barrier on a chip using human-derived stem cells. The device closely mimics the blood-brain barrier and allows the researchers to study its function and the effect of drugs without having to use experimental animals. By incorporating sensors, the chip can monitor barrier function in near real time.
The blood-brain barrier is a layer of endothelium that lines the vessels of the brain, and prevents the ingress of various small molecules. This layer protects the brain from many substances in the blood that could otherwise cause damage or problems in this highly specialized organ. Drugs intended to treat neurological issues in the brain must be able to cross the barrier. Moreover, the barrier can be affected and somewhat compromised by various physiological processes, including inflammation, but it has been difficult to study these phenomena.
This latest technology provides welcome assistance for researchers who hope to unravel the mysteries of the blood-brain barrier. The research group behind the development has created a blood-brain barrier on a chip, using human-derived stem cells to form the barrier.
By CONN HASTINGS – JULY 6TH, 2021