The number of individuals suffering from diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) is growing with an aging population. While candidate drugs for many of these diseases are available, most of these pharmaceutical agents cannot reach the brain rendering most of the drug therapies that target the CNS inefficient. The reason is the blood–brain barrier (BBB), a complex and dynamic interface that controls the influx and efflux of substances through a number of different translocation mechanisms. Here, we present these mechanisms providing, also, the necessary background related to the morphology and various characteristics of the BBB. Moreover, we discuss various numerical and simulation approaches used to study the BBB, and possible future directions based on multi-scale methods. We anticipate that this review will motivate multi-disciplinary research on the BBB aiming at the design of effective drug therapies.

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