Delayed clearance of cerebrospinal fluid tracer from entorhinal cortex in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: A glymphatic magnetic resonance imaging study

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2019 Jul;39(7):1355-1368. doi: 10.1177/0271678X18760974. Epub 2018 Feb 27.


The glymphatic system plays a key role for clearance of waste solutes from the rodent brain. We recently found evidence of glymphatic circulation in the human brain when using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tracer in conjunction with multiple MRI acquisitions (gMRI). The present study explored the hypothesis that reduced glymphatic clearance in entorhinal cortex (ERC) may be instrumental in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) dementia. gMRI acquisitions were obtained over a 24-48 h time span in cognitively affected iNPH patients and non-cognitively affected patients with suspected CSF leaks. The CSF tracer enrichment was determined as changes in normalized MRI T1 signal units. The study included 30 patients with iNPH and 8 individuals with suspected CSF leaks (i.e. reference individuals). Compared to reference individuals, iNPH patients presented with higher medial temporal lobe atrophy score and Evan's index and inferior ERC thickness. We found delayed clearance of the intrathecal CSF tracer gadobutrol from CSF, the ERC and adjacent white matter, suggesting impaired glymphatic circulation. Reduced clearance and accumulation of toxic waste product such as amyloid-β may be a mechanism behind dementia in iNPH. Glymphatic MRI (gMRI) may become a tool for assessment of early dementia.

Keywords: Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus; cerebrospinal fluid tracer; dementia; entorhinal cortex; glymphatic circulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Glymphatic System / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus, Normal Pressure / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Organometallic Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • White Matter / metabolism


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • gadobutrol