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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2003 Apr;81(4):317-28.

Development of the brain: a vital role for cerebrospinal fluid.

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Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology, PO. Box 88, Sackville Street, Manchester M60 1QD, UK.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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