Identification of the Entry Mechanism of Vital Nutrient into the Brain

May 02, 2024

Researchers have unveiled a crucial mechanism by which choline, a vital nutrient essential for brain health, is actively transported from the bloodstream into the brain via a specific protein. These findings hold promise for the development of novel therapeutics targeting brain disorders. Published in Nature and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study utilized brain tissue from mice and humans.

FLVCR2, the protein identified, was found to be abundant in the blood-brain barrier, a densely packed layer of cells lining cerebral blood vessels. Particularly enriched in endothelial cells, responsible for regulating nutrient and small molecule passage to the brain, FLVCR2 exhibited a selective affinity for choline, facilitating its transportation into the brain.

Given the blood-brain barrier's crucial role in shielding the brain from toxins and pathogens, as well as restricting drug access, comprehending FLVCR2's interaction with choline and other compounds presents opportunities to engineer drugs mimicking choline's behavior, thus exploiting this molecular gateway for therapeutic intervention in neurological disorders.