Blood-Brain Barrier Signaling Group


Endothelial cells (ECs) lining the lumen of blood vessels are primarily important for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, as well as for the detoxification of body tissues.

In vertebrates, the development of the vascular system takes place as vasculo- (de novo formation of vessels) and angiogenesis (growth from pre-existing vessels) and is regulated by growth factors like VEGF, PDGF-BB, Ang-1/-2, TGFβ and Wnts.

Depending on their localization in specific tissues of the body, blood vessels have to meet their specific physiological needs. The most prominent example of a tissue specific vascular differentiation is the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-retina barrier (BRB), which on the one hand protects the brain from noxious, blood-born substances and on the other hand guarantees the transport of nutrients and debris to and from the brain, respectively.

Our group is mainly interested in the molecular mechanisms, which regulate the endothelial differentiation into the barrier phenotype of the BBB. The aim is to understand BBB-formation in order to be able to manipulate endothelial barrier-characteristics under pathological conditions in the brain, such as stroke, tumors and Alzheimer’s disease.