Science papers on cerebrospinal fluid flow

Below are some interesting quotes on CSF flow from recent research using new computer modelling of CSF flow in the third ventricle from MRI scans. There are also some great images on the site of Dr Vartan Kurtcuoglu. (Many thanks to GP Visser, dentist and current student on the current CTET training, for pointing out the papers.)

'Unlike the cardiac system, there is no dedicated pump, such as the heart, that directly drives the CSF flow. The CSF is propelled in a pulsatile manner, primarily due to brain motion caused by the expansion and contraction of cerebral blood vessels. Superimposed on this motion is flow generated by the secretion of CSF by the choroid plexus in the ventricles at the center of the brain and cerebrospinal fluid absorption, predominantly at the arachnoid villi in the subarachnoid space that surrounds the brain (Davson and Segal, 1996). Additional drainage into the blood-stream is purported to occur through the cerebral extracellular space (Greitz, 1993).' (Kurtcuoglu et al 2007)

'The CSF further serves as an intermediary between blood and nervous tissue, providing the latter with nutrients and removing waste products. Recent research shows that the cerebrospinal fluid flow is much more important than previously believed. For example, the pituitary gland and hypothalamus communicate through the CSF and new neurons follow the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the adult brain.' (Kurtcuoglu 2011)

There is also another open access paper which shows that CSF is produced not just in the choroid plexus but also in the membranes within and around the brain:

'The discovery of a family of membrane water channel proteins called aquaporins, and the finding that aquaporin 1 was located in the choroid plexus, has prompted interest in the role of aquaporins in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) production and consequently hydrocephalus'  'Aquaporin 1 makes a substantial contribution to CSF production and is a potential therapeutic target in the management of CSF circulation disorders.' (Owler et al 2010)

Distribution in brain of aquaporin-1 (AQP1, blue) and AQP4 (orange), schematically illustrated on a sagittal section of a human brain. (Owler et al 2010)

And finally there is video of CSF pulsing in the brain up on wikipedia:

click here to go to the video on wikipedia 


Owler B.K., Pitham T., and Wang D. (2010) Aquaporins: relevance to cerebrospinal fluid physiology and therapeutic potential in hydrocephalus. Cerebrospinal Fluid Research 2010, 7:15 Open access available at 

Kurtcuoglu V., Soellingerb M., Summersc P., Boomsmaa K., Poulikakosa D., Boesigerb P., and Ventikosd Y. (2007) Computational investigation of subject-specific cerebrospinal fluid flow in the third ventricle and aqueduct of Sylvius. Journal of Biomechanics 40 (2007) 1235–1245. (Available via  Feb 2011) 

Kurtcuoglu V. (2011) SmartShunt - The Hydrocephalus Project. click on Ventricular System, accessed Feb 2011