Organic Cation Transporter (OCT/OCTN) Expression at Brain Barrier Sites: Focus on CNS Drug Delivery

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


Therapeutic delivery to the central nervous system (CNS) continues to be a considerable challenge in the pharmacological treatment and management of neurological disorders. This is primarily due to the physiological and biochemical characteristics of brain barrier sites (i.e., blood–brain barrier (BBB), blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB)). Drug uptake into brain tissue is highly restricted by expression of tight junction protein complexes and adherens junctions between brain microvascular endothelial cells and choroid plexus epithelial cells. Additionally, efflux transport proteins expressed at the plasma membrane of these same endothelial and epithelial cells act to limit CNS concentrations of centrally acting drugs. In contrast, facilitated diffusion via transporter proteins allows for substrate-specific flux of molecules across the plasma membrane, directing drug uptake into the CNS. Organic Cation Transporters (OCTs) and Novel Organic Cation Transporters (OCTNs) are two subfamilies of the solute carrier 22 (SLC22) family of proteins that have significant potential to mediate delivery of positively charged, zwitterionic, and uncharged therapeutics. While expression of these transporters has been well characterized in peripheral tissues, the functional expression of OCT and OCTN transporters at CNS barrier sites and their role in delivery of therapeutic drugs to molecular targets in the brain require more detailed analysis. In this chapter, we will review current knowledge on localization, function, and regulation of OCT and OCTN isoforms at the BBB and BCSFB with a particular emphasis on how these transporters can be utilized for CNS delivery of therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
ISSN (Print)0171-2004
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0325


  • Blood–Brain Barrier (BBB)
  • Blood–Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier (BCSFB)
  • Brain parenchymal transporters
  • CNS drug delivery
  • Organic cation transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Organic Cation Transporter (OCT/OCTN) Expression at Brain Barrier Sites: Focus on CNS Drug Delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this