Decreased CSF clearance and increased brain amyloid in Alzheimer's disease

Fluids Barriers CNS. 2022 Mar 14;19(1):21. doi: 10.1186/s12987-022-00318-y.


Background: In sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD), brain amyloid-beta (Aβ) deposition is believed to be a consequence of impaired Aβ clearance, but this relationship is not well established in living humans. CSF clearance, a major feature of brain glymphatic clearance (BGC), has been shown to be abnormal in AD murine models. MRI phase contrast and intrathecally delivered contrast studies have reported reduced CSF flow in AD. Using PET and tau tracer 18F-THK5117, we previously reported that the ventricular CSF clearance of the PET tracer was reduced in AD and associated with elevated brain Aβ levels.

Methods: In the present study, we use two PET tracers, 18F-THK5351 and 11C-PiB to estimate CSF clearance calculated from early dynamic PET frames in 9 normal controls and 15 AD participants.

Results: we observed that the ventricular CSF clearance measures were correlated (r = 0.66, p < 0.01), with reductions in AD of 18 and 27%, respectively. We also replicated a significant relationship between ventricular CSF clearance (18F-THK5351) and brain Aβ load (r = - 0.64, n = 24, p < 0.01). With a larger sample size, we extended our observations to show that reduced CSF clearance is associated with reductions in cortical thickness and cognitive performance.

Conclusions: Overall, the findings support the hypothesis that failed CSF clearance is a feature of AD that is related to Aβ deposition and to the pathology of AD. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether failed CSF clearance is a predictor of progressive amyloidosis or its consequence.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / complications
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloidosis* / complications
  • Amyloidosis* / pathology
  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mice


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides