Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


Kristen O'Halloran Cardinal, PhD


Active and passive transport of substances between the microcirculation in the brain and the central nervous system is regulated by the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB). This barrier allows for chronic and acute modulation of the CNS microenvironment, and protects the brain from potentially noxious compounds carried in the circulatory system. In-vitro modeling of the BBB has become the target of much research over the past decade, as there are many unanswered questions regarding modulations in the permeability of this barrier. Additionally, the development of a practical and inexpensive model of the BBB would facilitate a much more efficient drug development process. The goal of this project is to investigate the formation of the BBB through assessment of tight junction formation and endothelial cell monolayer permeability. Accomplishment of this goal will include completion of the two primary aims of this thesis, which are 1) development of an immunohistochemical staining protocol for the labeling of tight junctional proteins, and 2) characterization of permeability across a porous membrane co-cultured with bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) and C6 glioma cells. Both of these aims were met, as a reliable IF protocol for tight junctional staining was developed, and permeability values across a permeable membrane seeded with BAECs and C6s were collected. The completion of these aims has helped to accomplish the goal of investigating the formation of tight junctions in an in-vitro model of the BBB. The IF protocol that has been developed, along with the collected permeability data will aid the development of a more dynamic in-vitro model of the BBB to aid in research surrounding acute modulation of the BBB, along with facilitating a timelier drug development process.