Neuroscientists at the University of Rochester have discovered an alternative mechanism to clear extra-cellular proteins from the brain. Scientists studied the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in living mouse brain. Cerebrospinal fluid acts as a cushion to protect the brain and also to “cleanse” the brain tissue. But how the fluid moves through the brain and clears waste wasn’t well understood. Scientists used a method called two-photon laser scanning microscopy to analyze the flow of CSF in living mouse brains. This new technology allowed the scientists to study the intact brain in real time.
They injected tracer molecules into the subarachnoid space, a cerebrospinal fluid-filled cavity between the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. This research conducted on mouse, is a sign of hope for people with neurodegenerative disorder.
Iliff JJ, Wang M, Liao Y, Plogg BA, Peng W, Gundersen GA, Benveniste H, Vates GE, Deane R, Goldman SA, Nagelhus EA, & Nedergaard M (2012). A paravascular pathway facilitates CSF flow through the brain parenchyma and the clearance of interstitial solutes, including amyloid β. Science translational medicine, 4 (147) PMID: 22896675