Nocturnal increase in cerebrospinal fluid secretion as a circadian regulator of intracranial pressure

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Background: It is crucial to maintain the intracranial pressure (ICP) within the physiological range to ensure proper brain function. The ICP may fluctuate during the light-dark phase cycle, complicating diagnosis and treatment choice in patients with pressure-related disorders. Such ICP fluctuations may originate in circadian or sleep-wake cycle-mediated modulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow dynamics, which in addition could support diurnal regulation of brain waste clearance. Methods: ICP was monitored continuously in patients who underwent placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD) and by telemetric monitoring in experimental rats. CSF was collected via the EVD in patients and the rodent CSF secretion rate determined by in vivo experimentation. Rodent choroid plexus transporter transcripts were quantified with RNAseq and transport activity with ex vivo isotope transport assays. Results: We demonstrated that ICP increases by 30% in the dark phase in both species, independently of vascular parameters. This increase aligns with elevated CSF collection in patients (12%) and CSF production rate in rats (20%), the latter obtained with the ventriculo-cisternal perfusion assay. The dark-phase increase in CSF secretion in rats was, in part, assigned to increased transport activity of the choroid plexus Na+,K+,2Cl- cotransporter (NKCC1), which is implicated in CSF secretion by this tissue. Conclusion: CSF secretion, and thus ICP, increases in the dark phase in humans and rats, irrespective of their diurnal/nocturnal activity preference, in part due to altered choroid plexus transport activity in the rat. Our findings suggest that CSF dynamics are modulated by the circadian rhythm, rather than merely sleep itself.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalFluids and Barriers of the CNS
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Cerebrospinal fluid, Choroid plexus, Circadian rhythm, Intracranial pressure, Na,K,2Cl cotransporter, Na/K-ATPase, Sleep

ID: 358638675