blood-brain barrier

Cultural Dictionary

blood-brain barrier definition


The separation of the brain, which is bathed in a clear cerebrospinal fluid, from the bloodstream. The cells near the capillary beds external to the brain selectively filter the molecules that are allowed to enter the brain, creating a more stable, nearly pathogen-free environment.

Note: Oxygen, glucose, and white blood cells are molecules that are able to pass through this barrier. Red blood cells cannot.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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