Distribution of extracellular tracers in perivascular spaces of the rat brain

Ichimura T, Fraser PA, Cserr HF

Brain Res. 1991 Apr;545(1-2):103-13

PMID: 1713524


Large molecular weight tracers (india ink or albumin labeled with colloidal gold, Evans blue or rhodamine) were micro-injected into the perivascular space of an artery or vein on the brain surface, or within the cerebral cortex or the subarachnoid space of anesthetized rats. The subsequent distribution was followed both under intravital microscopy, in order to outline the pathways and direction of tracer movement, and in histological section, in order to describe the pathways of flow at the light and electron microscopic level. The tracers remained largely in the perivascular spaces and in the interconnecting network of extracellular channels, including the subpial space and the core of subarachnoid trabeculae. Tracer also leaked across the pia into subarachnoid CSF. Bulk flow of fluid within the perivascular space, around both arteries and veins, was suggested from video-densitometric measurements of fluorescently labeled albumin. However, this flow was slow, and its direction varied in an unpredictable way. These results confirm that perivascular spaces may serve as channels for fluid exchange between brain and CSF, but do not support the idea that CSF circulates rapidly through brain tissue via perivascular spaces.

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