Blood Brain Barrier Permeability: What is that?

First, let’s talk about what neurological autoimmunity is and how it might it affect you…

Neurological autoimmunity is a misguided immune response to virtually any structure within the central nervous system (CNS) or peripheral nervous system (PNS).

Studies show that neurological antibodies may have connections with a variety of neurologically related diseases that can progress slowly over decades if lifestyle modifications and medical interventions are not implemented.

Common symptoms associated with autoimmunity in the nervous system include:

  • Cognitive decline
  • Memory loss
  • Ataxia
  • Balance problems
  • Neuropathy
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Encephalitis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Muscle stiffness/rigidity
  • Optical decline
  • Neuromyelitis optica
  • History of concussion
  • Autism
  • Demyelinating diseases

The Blood Brain Barrier

Source: Devnarain, Nikita & Ramharack, Pritika & E. Soliman, Mahmoud. (2017). Brain grants permission of access to Zika virus but denies entry to drugs: A molecular modeling perspective to infiltrate the boundary. RSC Adv.. 7. 47416-47424. 10.1039/C7RA05918C.

Blood brain barrier (BBB) is a term used to describe the microvasculature structures and function of the central nervous system (CNS); these properties tightly regulate the movement of molecules, ions, and cells between the blood and CNS.

In layman’s terms, the BBB only lets in what is needed and keeps out what is harmful.

The BBB is critical for protecting the CNS from toxins, pathogens, inflammation, injury, and disease. Dysfunction of the BBB can lead to neuronal dysfunction and degeneration.

The BBB plays a central role in healing and recovery after head injuries, for instance. A recent finding due to medical focus on amateur and professional athletes is that concussion patients often develop chronic health conditions after their head injury.


Within 20 minutes of a head injury, the intestinal barrier and blood brain barrier open up and become permeable (“leaky”) due to shock and physiological stress. A permeable blood brain barrier and a permeable gut barrier cause inflammation, which then causes the autonomic nervous system to become very reactive to things it normally would not be.

If not treated, a permeable gut and a permeable brain may lead to lifelong ailments that negatively and progressively affect health.

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Kelly, John & J Kennedy, Paul & Cryan, John & G Dinan, Timothy & Clarke, Gerard & Hyland, Niall. (2015). Breaking Down the Barriers: The Gut Microbiome, Intestinal Permeability and Stress-related Psychiatric Disorders. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience. 9. 392. 10.3389/fncel.2015.00392.

Some antibodies associated with blood brain barrier disruption include:

  • Anti-s100b
  • Anti-Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • Anti-Microglia
  • Anti-glucose regulated protein 78
  • Anti-RAGE

These antibodies have associations as follows:

s100b antibodies have primary associations with concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Antibodies develop early– before the development of gross changes, making it a target antibody for prevention.

Anti-Glial fibrillary acidic protein serves as a blood-based diagnostic marker for brain injury.

Microglia cells are present in the brain; if antibodies to microglia are present in the blood, this means there has been a breach of the blood brain barrier.

Anti-glucose regulated protein 78 can trigger blood brain barrier breakdown and development of anti-aquaporin 4 antibodies, so these antibodies can be used as treatment targets in blood brain barrier treatment protocols. (Note: antibodies to food aquaporins can be tested on Vibrant’s Lectin Zoomer)

A multigland receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) has been identified as the major receptor at the blood brain barrier with implications to aging, inflammation, neurodegeneration, and diabetic complications. [1]

Identification of elevated neurologically associated antibodies can provide a roadmap to solutions and improved health outcomes in this challenging arena of disease.

Detecting neurological autoimmunity can be completed through Vibrant’s Neural Zoomer test, which includes a total of 48 autoantibodies associated with neurological autoimmunity.


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