The brain lacks a conventional lymphatic system to remove metabolic waste. It has been proposed that directional fluid movement through the arteriolar paravascular space (PVS) promotes metabolite clearance. We performed simulations to examine if arteriolar pulsations and dilations can drive directional CSF flow in the PVS and found that arteriolar wall movements do not drive directional CSF flow. We propose an alternative method of metabolite clearance from the PVS, namely fluid exchange between the PVS and the subarachnoid space (SAS). In simulations with compliant brain tissue, arteriolar pulsations did not drive appreciable fluid exchange between the PVS and the SAS. However, when the arteriole dilated, as seen during functional hyperemia, there was a marked exchange of fluid. Simulations suggest that functional hyperemia may serve to increase metabolite clearance from the PVS. We measured blood vessels and brain tissue displacement simultaneously in awake, head-fixed mice using two-photon microscopy. These measurements showed that brain deforms in response to pressure changes in PVS, consistent with our simulations. Our results show that the deformability of the brain tissue needs to be accounted for when studying fluid flow and metabolite transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number52
JournalFluids and Barriers of the CNS
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 20 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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