Sustained glymphatic transport and impaired drainage to the nasal cavity observed in multiciliated cell ciliopathies with hydrocephalus

Fluids Barriers CNS. 2022 Mar 5;19(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s12987-022-00319-x.


Background: Hydrocephalus (increased ventricular size due to CSF accumulation) is a common finding in human ciliopathies and in mouse models with genetic depletion of the multiciliated cell (MCC) cilia machinery. However, the contribution of MCC to CSF dynamics and, the mechanism by which impaired MCC function leads to hydrocephalus remains poorly understood. The aim of our study was to examine if defects in MCC ciliogenesis and cilia-generated CSF flow impact central nervous system (CNS) fluid homeostasis including glymphatic transport and solute waste drainage.

Methods: We used two distinct mouse models of MCC ciliopathy: MCC-specific CEP164 conditional knockout mice (FOXJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl (N = 10), 3-month-old) and p73 knock-out (p73-/- (N = 8), 5-month-old) mice. Age-matched, wild-type littermates for each of the mutants served as controls. Glymphatic transport and solute drainage was quantified using in vivo T1 mapping by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after CSF infusion of gadoteric acid. Brain morphometry and aquaporin 4 expression (AQP4) was also assessed. Intracranial pressure (ICP) was measured in separate cohorts.

Results: In both of the two models of MCC ciliopathy we found the ventriculomegaly to be associated with normal ICP. We showed that FOXJ1-Cre;CEP164fl/fl mice with hydrocephalus still demonstrated sustained glymphatic transport and normal AQP4 expression along capillaries. In p73-/- mice glymphatic transport was even increased, and this was paralleled by an increase in AQP4 polarization around capillaries. Further, solute drainage via the cribriform plate to the nasal cavity was severely impaired in both ciliopathy models and associated with chronic rhinitis and olfactory bulb hypoplasia.

Conclusions: The combination of sustained glymphatic transport, impaired solute drainage via the cribriform plate to the nasal cavity and hydrocephalus has not previously been reported in models of MCC ciliopathy. Our data enhance our understanding of how different types of ciliopathies contribute to disruption of CNS fluid homeostasis, manifested in pathologies such as hydrocephalus.

Keywords: CEP164; CNS fluid homeostasis; Ciliopathy; Glymphatic; Hydrocephalus; Mouse model; Multiciliated cell; Waste drainage; p73.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ciliopathies* / genetics
  • Ciliopathies* / pathology
  • Drainage
  • Glymphatic System* / physiology
  • Hydrocephalus* / pathology
  • Mice
  • Nasal Cavity / pathology