An emerging concept of normal brain immune surveillance proposes that recently and moderately activated central memory T lymphocytes enter the central nervous system (CNS) directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) via the choroid plexus. Within the CSF space, T cells inspect the CNS environment for cognate antigens. This gate of entry into the CNS could also prevail at the initial stage of neuroinflammatory processes. To actually demonstrate T cell migration across the choroidal epithelium forming the blood-CSF barrier, an in vitro model of the rat blood-CSF barrier was established in an "inverse" configuration that enables cell transmigration studies in the basolateral to apical, i.e. blood/stroma to CSF direction. Structural barrier features were evaluated by immunocytochemical analysis of tight junction proteins, functional barrier properties were assessed by measuring the monolayer permeability to sucrose and the active efflux transport of organic anions. The migratory behaviour of activated T cells across the choroidal epithelium was analysed in the presence and absence of chemokines. The migration pathway was examined by confocal microscopy. The inverse rat BCSFB model reproduces the continuous distribution of tight junction proteins at cell margins, the restricted paracellular permeability, and polarized active transport mechanisms, which all contribute to the barrier phenotype in vivo. Using this model, we present experimental evidence of T cell migration across the choroidal epithelium. Cell migration appears to occur via a paracellular route without disrupting the restrictive barrier properties of the epithelial interface. Apical chemokine addition strongly stimulates T cell migration across the choroidal epithelium. The present data provide evidence for the controlled migration of T cells across the blood-CSF barrier into brain. They further indicate that this recruitment route is sensitive to CSF-borne chemokines, extending the relevance of this migration pathway to neuroinflammatory and neuroinfectious disorders which are typified by elevated chemokine levels in CSF.