Research Article: CSF in the ventricles of the brain behaves as a relay medium for arteriovenous pulse wave phase coupling

Date Published: November 15, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): William E. Butler, Pankaj K. Agarwalla, Patrick Codd, Masaki Mogi.


The ventricles of the brain remain perhaps the largest anatomic structure in the human body without established primary purpose, even though their existence has been known at least since described by Aristotle. We hypothesize that the ventricles help match a stroke volume of arterial blood that arrives into the rigid cranium with an equivalent volume of ejected venous blood by spatially configuring cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to act as a low viscosity relay medium for arteriovenous pulse wave (PW) phase coupling. We probe the hypothesis by comparing the spatiotemporal behavior of vascular PW about the ventricular surfaces in piglets to internal observations of ventricle wall motions and adjacent CSF pressure variations in humans. With wavelet brain angiography data obtained from piglets, we map the travel relative to brain pulse motion of arterial and venous PWs over the ventricle surfaces. We find that arterial PWs differ in CF phase from venous PWs over the surfaces of the ventricles consistent with arteriovenous PW phase coupling. We find a spatiotemporal difference in vascular PW phase between the ventral and dorsal ventricular surfaces, with the PWs arriving slightly sooner to the ventral surfaces. In humans undergoing neuroendoscopic surgery for hydrocephalus, we measure directly ventricle wall motions and the adjacent internal CSF pressure variations. We find that CSF pressure peaks slightly earlier in the ventral Third Ventricle than the dorsal Lateral Ventricle. When matched anatomically, the peri-ventricular vascular PW phase distribution in piglets complements the endo-ventricular CSF PW phase distribution in humans. This is consistent with a role for the ventricles in arteriovenous PW coupling and may add a framework for understanding hydrocephalus and other disturbances of intracranial pressure.

Partial Text

The arrival to the brain in the rigid cranium of a stroke volume of arterial blood must be matched over the cardiac cycle by an equivalent volume of exiting venous blood [1]. The kinetic energy of entering arterial blood must be matched over the cardiac cycle after frictional losses by the kinetic energy of exiting venous blood.

For the three piglets, the vascular PW phase over the ventricle surfaces is different in the arterial versus venous segments of the angiographic time intensity curve (Fig 4 and S4 Fig). This is consistent with arteriovenous PW coupling in the peri-ventricular zones. For the three piglets, the peri-ventricular vascular PWs share a consistent dorsal versus ventral phase gradient (Fig 9). This implies a consistent spatial distribution of vascular PW phase over the surfaces of the ventricles wherein vascular PWs travel from ventral to dorsal.




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