Cryptococcus neoformans is an environmental yeast found worldwide that causes lethal brain infections, particularly in immunocompromised hosts. In 2016, there were 280,000 cases of cryptococcal meningitis in the HIV+ population, two-thirds of them fatal; other immunocompromised patients are also affected. The burden of cryptococcal disease and the limits of current chemotherapy create a pressing need for improved treatment. One hindrance to the development of new therapies is lack of understanding of how this pathogen breaches the barriers protecting the brain. Here we describe a tool for investigating this process. This simple in vitro blood-brain-barrier (BBB) model, based on a human brain endothelial cell line grown on a permeable membrane, may be used to assay the BBB transmigration of C. neoformans or other neurotropic pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere78
JournalCurrent Protocols in Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • blood–brain barrier
  • cryptococcosis
  • fungal meningitis
  • hCMEC/D3
  • transwell permeable supports


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