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Mesenchymal Stem Cells Crossing the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB)

Mesenchymal Stem Cells Crossing the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB)

Research shows that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) when administered intravenously, cross the blood-brain barrier, and have numerous regenerative effects. In this article, we answer the question do mesenchymal stem cells cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB)? 

Do Mesenchymal Stem Cells Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier? (BBB)

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) innately migrate toward areas of inflammation. Research shows that when administered intravenously, mesenchymal stem cells cross the blood-brain barrier leading to various therapeutic effects.

What is the Blood-Brain Barrier?

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a dispersion barrier, which prevents the entry of most nutrients or compounds from the blood to the brain. The barrier is very particular, meaning it only allows certain substances to cross from the bloodstream into the brain. This protects the brain from potentially harmful toxins that can damage neurons.

Stem Cells Crossing the Blood-Brain Barrier

Mesenchymal stem cells have demonstrated the potential to reverse neuronal damage associated with diseases that include but are not limited to:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's Disease (PD)
  • Alzheimer's Disease (AD)

Studies indicate that intravenously (IV) injected mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can travel through the blood-brain barrier to the cerebral artery occlusion model for (t-MCAO) stroke. In fact, during the first two hours after stroke, MSCs transiently pass through the lungs and continue to migrate over time within the region of brain ischemia, crossing the blood-brain barrier. The study concluded through the use of whole-body imaging that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), when administered intravenously were able to pass through the BBB.

Why are Mesenchymal Stem Cells So Special?

Mesenchymal stem cells are rigorously studied, notoriously safe, and have the potential to target multiple pathways involved in neuronal regeneration. MSCs are widely used in the treatment of various diseases because of their anti-inflammatory, self-renewable, differentiation, and immunomodulatory properties. 

Can Mesenchymal Stem Cells Get Stuck in the Lungs?

Studies show that the trapping of stem cells following intravenous injection is only temporary, meaning the cells eventually move through to reach other areas of the body. Amazingly, MSCs undergo a process referred to as "cellular deformability" which can facilitate the passage of larger cells through smaller vessels.

About Mesenchymal Stem Cells

One of the most impressive benefits of mesenchymal stem cells is their unique and innate ability to seek out and target damaged or diseased tissue in the body. They possess leukocyte-like, active homing mechanisms that allow them to migrate across the blood-brain barrier under injury or inflammation.


When administered via IV mesenchymal stem cells cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Better yet, research shows that mesenchymal stem cells rapidly migrate to damaged regions of the brain. This can be seen through the use of magnetic resonance-based tracking of transplanted cells.

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