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Henrik Holvin Jacobsen, Geir Ringstad, Øystein Kalsnes Jørstad, Morten C. Moe, Tiril Sandell, Per Kristian Eide; The Human Visual Pathway Communicates Directly With the Subarachnoid Space. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(7):2773-2780. doi: 10.1167/iovs.19-26997.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Explore in vivo whether there is direct communication between the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and extravascular compartment of human visual pathway structures.
A prospective and observational study included 10 subjects who underwent intrathecal gadolinium–enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for suspected CSF circulation disorder, but with a negative result and with no known ophthalmic diseases. After precontrast T1-weighted MRI, 0.5 mL of gadobutrol (Gadovist, 1.0 mmol/mL) was injected intrathecally. Gadobutrol distributes in the extravascular space, and served as a CSF tracer. Consecutive MRI scans were obtained throughout 24 to 48 hours. To assess gadobutrol contrast enrichment, regions of interest (ROIs) were placed at multiple locations along the visual pathway, from the primary visual cortex to the eye's vitreous body. CSF tracer dependent T1 signal was measured in each ROI. A linear mixed-model was used for statistical analyses.
CSF tracer enrichment was found within the optic nerve, optic chiasm, optic tract, and primary visual cortex (P < 0.001). Peak tracer enrichment in the visual pathway generally occurred after 24 hours and was preceded by peak enhancement in the prechiasmatic cistern after 4 to 6 hours.
The results indicate direct communication between CSF of subarachnoid space and the extravascular space of the human visual pathway. Extravascular entry of the CSF tracer is a prerequisite for a glymphatic system, the present findings may suggest its presence. The existence of a glymphatic system in the human visual pathway could bring novel perspectives on the pathophysiology and treatment of ophthalmic diseases.
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