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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2001 Nov;60(11):1105-19.

A programmed ependymal denudation precedes congenital hydrocephalus in the hyh mutant mouse.

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Departamento de Biología Celular y Genética, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Spain.


Hydrocephalic hyh mice are born with moderate hydrocephalus and a normal cerebral aqueduct. At about the fifth postnatal day the aqueduct becomes obliterated and severe hydrocephalus develops. The aim of the present investigation was to investigate the mechanism of this hydrocephalus, probably starting during fetal life when the cerebral aqueduct is still patent. By use of immunocytochemistry and scanning electron microscopy, mutant (n = 54) and normal (n = 61) hyh mouse embryos were studied at various developmental stages to trace the earliest microscopic changes occurring in the brains of embryos becoming hydrocephalic. The primary defect begins at an early developmental stage (E-12) and involves cells lining the brain cavities, which detach following a well-defined temporo-spatial pattern. This ependymal denudation mostly involves the ependyma of the basal plate derivatives. There is a relationship between ependymal denudation and ependymal differentiation evaluated by the expression of vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein. The ependymal cells had a normal appearance before and after detachment, suggesting that their separation from the ventricular wall might be due to abnormalities in cell adhesion molecules. The process of detachment of the ventral ependyma, clearly visualized under scanning electron microscope, is almost completed before the onset of hydrocephalus. Furthermore, this ependymal denudation does not lead to aqueductal stenosis during prenatal life. Thus, the rather massive ependymal denudation appears to be the trigger of hydrocephalus in this mutant mouse, raising the question about the mechanism responsible for this hydrocephalus. It seems likely that an uncontrolled bulk flow of brain fluid through the extended areas devoid of ependyma may be responsible for the hydrocephalus developed by the hyh mutant embryos. The defect in these embryos also includes loss of the hindbrain floor plate and a delayed in the expression of Reissner fiber glycoproteins by the subcommissural organ.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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