Neurofluids is a term introduced to define all fluids in the brain and spine such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and interstitial fluid. Neuroscientists in the past millennium have steadily identified the several different fluid environments in the brain and spine that interact in a synchronized harmonious manner to assure a healthy microenvironment required for optimal neuroglial function. Neuroanatomists and biochemists have provided an incredible wealth of evidence revealing the anatomy of perivascular spaces, meninges and glia and their role in drainage of neuronal waste products. Human studies have been limited due to the restricted availability of noninvasive imaging modalities that can provide a high spatiotemporal depiction of the brain neurofluids. Therefore, animal studies have been key in advancing our knowledge of the temporal and spatial dynamics of fluids, for example, by injecting tracers with different molecular weights. Such studies have sparked interest to identify possible disruptions to neurofluids dynamics in human diseases such as small vessel disease, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and dementia. However, key differences between rodent and human physiology should be considered when extrapolating these findings to understand the human brain. An increasing armamentarium of noninvasive MRI techniques is being built to identify markers of altered drainage pathways. During the three-day workshop organized by the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine that was held in Rome in September 2022, several of these concepts were discussed by a distinguished international faculty to lay the basis of what is known and where we still lack evidence. We envision that in the next decade, MRI will allow imaging of the physiology of neurofluid dynamics and drainage pathways in the human brain to identify true pathological processes underlying disease and to discover new avenues for early diagnoses and treatments including drug delivery. Evidence level: 1 Technical Efficacy: Stage 3.
Keywords: cerebrospinal fluid; clearance; interstitial fluid; neurofluids; neuroimaging; perivascular spaces.
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.