The movement of fluid into, through, and out of the brain plays an important role in clearing metabolic waste. However, there is controversy regarding the mechanisms driving fluid movement in the fluid-filled paravascular spaces (PVS), and whether the movement of metabolic waste in the brain extracellular space (ECS) is primarily driven by diffusion or convection. The dilation of penetrating arterioles in the brain in response to increases in neural activity (neurovascular coupling) is an attractive candidate for driving fluid circulation, as it drives deformation of the brain tissue and of the PVS around arteries, resulting in fluid movement. We simulated the effects of vasodilation on fluid movement into and out of the brain ECS using a novel poroelastic model of brain tissue. We found that arteriolar dilations could drive convective flow through the ECS radially outward from the arteriole, and that this flow is sensitive to the dynamics of the dilation. Simulations of sleep-like conditions, with larger vasodilations and increased extracellular volume in the brain showed enhanced movement of fluid from the PVS into the ECS. Our simulations suggest that both sensory-evoked and sleep-related arteriolar dilations can drive convective flow of cerebrospinal fluid not just in the PVS, but also into the ECS through the PVS around arterioles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience