Development of the brain: a vital role for cerebrospinal fluid

Publication: Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
April 2003


There has been considerable recent progress in understanding the processes involved in brain development. An analysis of a number of neurological conditions, together with our studies of the hydrocephalic Texas (H-Tx) rat, presents an important role for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the developmental process. The fluid flow is essentially one-way and the location of the choroid plexuses in the lateral, third, and fourth ventricles allows for the possibility of new components being added to the fluid at these points. The role of the fourth ventricular CSF is particularly interesting since this is added to the fluid downstream of the cerebral hemisphere germinal epithelium (the main site of cortical cell proliferation and differentiation) and is destined for the basal cisterns and subarachnoid space suggesting different target cells to those within the ventricular system. Moreover, other sources of additions to the CSF exist, notably the subcommissural organ, which sits at the opening of the third ventricle into the cerebral aqueduct and is the source of Reisner's fibre, glycoproteins, and unknown soluble proteins. In this paper a model for the role of CSF is developed from studies of the development of the cortex of the H-Tx rat. We propose that CSF is vital in controlling development of the nervous system along the whole length of the neural tube and that the externalisation of CSF during development is essential for the formation of the layers of neurones in the cerebral cortex.Key words: cerebrospinal fluid, cerebral cortex, development, rat, hydrocephalus.


Des progrès considérables ont été réalisés récemment dans la compréhension des processus mis en causes dans le développement du cerveau. Une analyse de certaines atteintes neurologiques, ainsi que nos études sur le rat hydrocéphalique Texas (H-Tx), indique que le liquide céphalo-rachidien (LCR) joue un rôle important dans le processus de développement. Le liquide circule dans une direction et la localisation des plexus choroïdes dans les troisième et quatrième ventricules latéraux permet que de nouveaux composants soient ajoutés au liquide à ces endroits. Le rôle du LCR dans le quatrième ventricule est particulièrement intéressant étant donné qu'il est ajouté au liquide en aval de l'épithélium germinatif de l'hémisphère cérébral (site principal de la prolifération et de la différenciation des cellules corticales) et dirigé vers les citernes basales et l'espace sous-arachnoïdien, suggérant des cellules cibles différentes de celles du système ventriculaire. Il existe aussi d'autres sources d'additions au LCR, notamment l'organe sous-commissural qui se situe à l'entrée du troisième ventricule dans l'aqueduc cérébral et qui contient la fibre de Reissner, des glycoprotéines ainsi que des protéines solubles inconnues. Dans le présent article, un modèle pour le rôle du LCR est développé à partir d'études sur le développement du cortex du rat hydrocéphalique Texas. Nous postulons que le LCR est indispensable pour réguler le développement du système nerveux sur toute la longueur du tube neural et que la circulation du LCR vers l'extérieur du cerveau (externalisation) durant le développement est essentielle pour former les différentes couches de neurones dans le cortex cérébral.Mots clés : liquide céphalo-rachidien, cortex cérébral, développement, rat, hydrocéphalie.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

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cover image Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Volume 81Number 4April 2003
Pages: 317 - 328


Published online: 13 February 2011


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