Newfound Clock in Blood Brain Barrier of Fruit Flies Regulates Daily Permeability
Penn study has important implications for timing of medications for brain disorders
The blood brain barrier (BBB), like a bouncer outside an exclusive night club, stands guard between the brain and the rest of the body. The barrier consists of tight junctions between cells lining blood vessels to keep harmful toxins and germs out of the brain. But this can also bar entry to many medications used to treat brain illnesses.
A study led by Amita Sehgal, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, describes that the permeability of the fruit fly version of the barrier is higher at night versus during the day. In addition, her team found that this daily rhythm is governed by a molecular clock in the support cells within the barrier, which affected how mutant flies responded to an anti-epileptic drug. The study’s first author is Shirley Zhang, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Sehgal’s lab.
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