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Claus Pietrzik

The Blood Brain Barrier in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Our research team focuses on preclinical aspects of neurodegenerative diseases. We use in vitro and in vivo model systems for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and blood-brain barrier (BBB)-related ageing disorders.

The BBB plays a crucial role in maintaining brain homeostasis, preventing the uncontrolled entry or diffusion of potentially harmful molecules into the brain. Several recent studies have also highlighted the importance of the BBB in neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, where it regulates the transport of the Aβ peptide via low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1). Using adeno-associated viruses (AAV) that specifically target the endothelium of the BBB, we are currently trying to increase the clearance of waste products out of the ageing brain and generate a transport system to deliver potential therapeutics into the brain. Additionally, we have identified a novel β-secretase called meprin β that is capable of generating N-terminal truncated Aβ species, which are found in the brains of AD patients.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2003: Professor for Pathobiochemistry, Institute for Pathobiochemistry, University Medical Center, Mainz
  • 2002 - 2003: Assistant project scientist, University of California San Diego, USA
  • 1998 - 2001: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California San Diego, USA


  • 1998: PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Institute for Molecular Cell Biology, University of Bonn
  • 1995: Diploma in Biology, Institute for Molecular Cell Biology, University of Bonn

Selected publications by Claus Pietrzik

Mazura AD, Ohler A, Storck SE, Kurtyka M, Scharfenberg F, Weggen S, Becker-Pauly C and Pietrzik CU (2022) PCSK9 acts as a key regulator of Aβ clearance across the blood-brain barrier. Cell Mol Life Sci, 79:212 Link

Marengo L, Armbrust F, Schoenherr C, Storck SE, Schmitt U, Zampar S, Wirths O, Altmeppen H, Glatzel M, Kaether C, Weggen S, Becker-Pauly C and Pietrzik CU (2022) Meprin β knockout reduces brain Aβ levels and rescues learning and memory impairments in the APP/lon mouse model for Alzheimer's disease. Cell Mol Life Sci, 79:168 Link

Gindorf M, Storck SE, Ohler A, Scharfenberg F, Becker-Pauly C and Pietrzik CU (2021) Meprin β: A novel regulator of blood-brain barrier integrity. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 41:31–44 Link

Storck SE, Kurtyka M and Pietrzik CU (2021) Brain endothelial LRP1 maintains blood-brain barrier integrity. Fluids Barriers CNS, 18:27 Link

Storck SE, Meister S, Nahrath J, Meißner JN, Schubert N, Di Spiezio A, Baches S, Vandenbroucke RE, Bouter Y, Prikulis I, Korth C, Weggen S, Heimann A, Schwaninger M, Bayer TA and Pietrzik CU (2016) Endothelial LRP1 transports amyloid-β1-42 across the blood-brain barrier. J Clin Invest, 126:123–36 Link