In Vivo Targeting of the Neurovascular Unit: Challenges and Advancements

Oandy Naranjo, Olivia Osborne, Silvia Torices, Michal Toborek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is essential for the homeostasis of the central nervous system (CNS). Functions of the BBB are performed by the neurovascular unit (NVU), which consists of endothelial cells, pericytes, astrocytes, microglia, basement membrane, and neurons. NVU cells interact closely and together are responsible for neurovascular coupling, BBB integrity, and transendothelial fluid transport. Studies have shown that NVU dysfunction is implicated in several acute and chronic neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. The mechanisms of NVU disruption remain poorly understood, partially due to difficulties in selective targeting of NVU cells. In this review, we discuss the relative merits of available protein markers and drivers of the NVU along with recent advancements that have been made in the field to increase efficiency and specificity of NVU research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCellular and molecular neurobiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Blood–brain barrier
  • Cre mouse models
  • Imaging
  • Neurovascular unit
  • Protein expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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