How Do Meningeal Lymphatic Vessels Drain the CNS?

Trends Neurosci. 2016 Sep;39(9):581-586. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.07.001. Epub 2016 Jul 25.


The many interactions between the nervous and the immune systems, which are active in both physiological and pathological states, have recently become more clearly delineated with the discovery of a meningeal lymphatic system capable of carrying fluid, immune cells, and macromolecules from the central nervous system (CNS) to the draining deep cervical lymph nodes. However, the exact localization of the meningeal lymphatic vasculature and the path of drainage from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to the lymphatics remain poorly understood. Here, we discuss the potential differences between peripheral and CNS lymphatic vessels and examine the purported mechanisms of CNS lymphatic drainage, along with how these may fit into established patterns of CSF flow.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Extracellular Fluid / immunology*
  • Extracellular Fluid / metabolism
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymphatic Vessels / immunology*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / metabolism