Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran extravasation as a measure of blood-brain barrier permeability

Reka Natarajan, Nicole Northrop, Bryan Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is formed in part by vascular endothelial cells that constitute the capillaries and microvessels of the brain. The function of this barrier is to maintain homeostasiswithin the brain microenvironment and buffer the brain from changes in the periphery. Adysfunction of the BBB would permit circulating molecules and pathogens typically restricted to the periphery to enter the brain and interfere with normal brain function. As increased permeability of the BBB is associated with several neuropathologies, it is important to have a reliable and sensitive method that determines BBB permeability and the degree of BBB disruption. A detailed protocol is presented for assessing the integrity of the BBB by transcardial perfusion of a 10,000 Da FITC-labeled dextran molecule and its visualization to determine the degree of extravasation from brain microvessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9.58.1-9.58.15
JournalCurrent Protocols in Neuroscience
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Brain capillaries
  • FITC-dextran extravasation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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