Master in Biopharmaceutical Sciences

Brain barriers in drug development



Learning outcomes

This course aims to provide current concepts in the area of blood-brain barrier (BBB) and other barriers that will allow the student to: (1) know the importance of the various barriers to the homeostasis of the nervous tissue; (2) reflect on their role in the pathogenesis of neurological diseases or as a result thereof; (3) identify the main uses and limitations of several BBB study models; (4) assimilate the importance of bio-informatics as a tool for predicting the permeation of the BBB; (5) understand the relevance of therapeutic approaches to allow the access of drugs to the central nervous system (CNS). Thus, the future master in Biopharmaceutical Sciences will acquire specific skills enabling him/her to develop strategies to prevent or repair damage of the CNS in pathological situations.


The brain barriers are complex and dynamic structures that protect the nervous tissue against the entrance of toxic substances. However, the restricted permeability and selectively limits the entry of drugs into the CNS, which constitutes an obstacle to therapy. This UC presents the current state of knowledge regarding the following aspects: BBB as a protective interface, its constitution and properties; functional interactions between cells and molecules of the nervous tissue and concept of the neurovascular unit; structural and functional changes of the BBB in pathological situations and role of the BBB as a cause or consequence of neurological damage; in silico, in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models to study the BBB; in silico evaluation of the BBB transposition by drugs; development of drugs for the treatment of CNS disorders and therapeutic strategies to overcome the BBB; other barriers: blood- retinal barrier and blood-cerebro-spinal fluid barrier.