Brain capillary endothelial cells form a functional barrier between blood and brain, based on the existence of tight junctions that limit paracellular permeability. Occludin is one of the major transmembrane proteins of tight junctions and its peripheral localization gives indication of tight junction formation. We previously reported that RBE4.B cells (brain capillary endothelial cells), cultured on collagen IV, synthesize occludin and correctly localize it at the cell periphery only when cocultured with neurons. In the present study, we describe a three-cell type-culture system that allowed us to analyze the combined effects of neurons and astrocytes on differentiation of brain capillary endothelial cells in culture. In particular, we found that, in the presence of astrocytes, the neuron-induced synthesis and localization of occludin is precocious as compared to cells cocultured with neurons only.