The BBB or blood brain barrier has always fascinated doctors, scholars and the curious: this bulwark of defence protecting our brain’s purity, is particularly intriguing, both as an idea and as a concept. However, BBB is little investigable in its operation in understanding what it is and where it can be found in newborns.
Choroid plexus could be a good starting point for our analysis.
It is an ensemble of vessels situated in lateral cerebral ventricles, one on the right and one on the left. There, the cerebrospinal fluid is produced which, circulates throughout the ventricular system and then into the periencephalic spaces around the brain. It is possible to observe these choroid plexuses in preterm and term newborns through transfontanellar ultrasound.
It is simplistic to think that BBB could be identified in choroid plexus only. But it may be helpful to understand better the concept around it because there are many vessels all together.
Actually, every cerebral vessel works as a protective wall with tight junctions, even in brain matter (more precisely, in white and grey matter). Nevertheless, our choroid plexus is by far the most important of all, because it is exactly where the “famous” cerebrospinal fluid is produced.
Written in Italian by: prof. doc. L.A. Ramenghi. Translated into English by: M.E. Canepa.