Abba Kastin, MD
United Companies/Harris J. Endowed Chustz Chair
Blood Brain Barrier II
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M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 1960
A.B., Harvard College, Boston, MA, 1956
Dr. Kastin has introduced many concepts regarding communication between the brain and the rest of the body. He was the first to show that peptides in the periphery affect the brain and went on to demonstrate that this is accomplished by direct passage across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). For leptin, there is a saturable transport system across the BBB which may explain part of "leptin resistance." Leptin can also activate the latent transport of urocortin across the BBB, as can tumor necrosis factor alpha. Another aspect of his research has involved the isolation of brain peptides, some of which introduced the concept of endogenous antiopiate peptides. The last member of this family of peptides - endomorphin - is the long-sought specific mu opiate agonist.