Multiplicity of cerebrospinal fluid functions: New challenges in health and disease

Cerebrospinal Fluid Res. 2008 May 14:5:10. doi: 10.1186/1743-8454-5-10.


This review integrates eight aspects of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulatory dynamics: formation rate, pressure, flow, volume, turnover rate, composition, recycling and reabsorption. Novel ways to modulate CSF formation emanate from recent analyses of choroid plexus transcription factors (E2F5), ion transporters (NaHCO3 cotransport), transport enzymes (isoforms of carbonic anhydrase), aquaporin 1 regulation, and plasticity of receptors for fluid-regulating neuropeptides. A greater appreciation of CSF pressure (CSFP) is being generated by fresh insights on peptidergic regulatory servomechanisms, the role of dysfunctional ependyma and circumventricular organs in causing congenital hydrocephalus, and the clinical use of algorithms to delineate CSFP waveforms for diagnostic and prognostic utility. Increasing attention focuses on CSF flow: how it impacts cerebral metabolism and hemodynamics, neural stem cell progression in the subventricular zone, and catabolite/peptide clearance from the CNS. The pathophysiological significance of changes in CSF volume is assessed from the respective viewpoints of hemodynamics (choroid plexus blood flow and pulsatility), hydrodynamics (choroidal hypo- and hypersecretion) and neuroendocrine factors (i.e., coordinated regulation by atrial natriuretic peptide, arginine vasopressin and basic fibroblast growth factor). In aging, normal pressure hydrocephalus and Alzheimer's disease, the expanding CSF space reduces the CSF turnover rate, thus compromising the CSF sink action to clear harmful metabolites (e.g., amyloid) from the CNS. Dwindling CSF dynamics greatly harms the interstitial environment of neurons. Accordingly the altered CSF composition in neurodegenerative diseases and senescence, because of adverse effects on neural processes and cognition, needs more effective clinical management. CSF recycling between subarachnoid space, brain and ventricles promotes interstitial fluid (ISF) convection with both trophic and excretory benefits. Finally, CSF reabsorption via multiple pathways (olfactory and spinal arachnoidal bulk flow) is likely complemented by fluid clearance across capillary walls (aquaporin 4) and arachnoid villi when CSFP and fluid retention are markedly elevated. A model is presented that links CSF and ISF homeostasis to coordinated fluxes of water and solutes at both the blood-CSF and blood-brain transport interfaces.

Outline: 1 Overview2 CSF formation2.1 Transcription factors2.2 Ion transporters2.3 Enzymes that modulate transport2.4 Aquaporins or water channels2.5 Receptors for neuropeptides3 CSF pressure3.1 Servomechanism regulatory hypothesis3.2 Ontogeny of CSF pressure generation3.3 Congenital hydrocephalus and periventricular regions3.4 Brain response to elevated CSF pressure3.5 Advances in measuring CSF waveforms4 CSF flow4.1 CSF flow and brain metabolism4.2 Flow effects on fetal germinal matrix4.3 Decreasing CSF flow in aging CNS4.4 Refinement of non-invasive flow measurements5 CSF volume5.1 Hemodynamic factors5.2 Hydrodynamic factors5.3 Neuroendocrine factors6 CSF turnover rate6.1 Adverse effect of ventriculomegaly6.2 Attenuated CSF sink action7 CSF composition7.1 Kidney-like action of CP-CSF system7.2 Altered CSF biochemistry in aging and disease7.3 Importance of clearance transport7.4 Therapeutic manipulation of composition8 CSF recycling in relation to ISF dynamics8.1 CSF exchange with brain interstitium8.2 Components of ISF movement in brain8.3 Compromised ISF/CSF dynamics and amyloid retention9 CSF reabsorption9.1 Arachnoidal outflow resistance9.2 Arachnoid villi vs. olfactory drainage routes9.3 Fluid reabsorption along spinal nerves9.4 Reabsorption across capillary aquaporin channels10 Developing translationally effective models for restoring CSF balance11 Conclusion.