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Extra-vascular molecular clearance routes from the brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) remain insufficiently characterized in humans. Animal studies consistently suggest that the cribriform plate and nasal lymphatic vessels are crucial for molecular clearance from CSF. In this study, we aimed to examine human in vivo transport of a CSF tracer from CSF to nasal mucosa. We hypothesised a CSF tracer would enrich in nasal mucosa provided that nasal lymphatic drainage has a significant role in CSF molecular clearance. Consecutive magnetic resonance imaging during 48 h after intrathecal administration of a tracer (gadobutrol) was performed in 24 patients. Despite a strong enrichment of CSF tracer in CSF spaces nearby the cribriform plate, there was no significant enrichment of CSF tracer in nasal mucosa, as measured in superior, medial and inferior turbinates, or in the nasal septum. Therefore, this in vivo study questions the importance of CSF drainage to the human nasal mucosa and emphasizes the need of further human studies.


Erik Melin, Per Kristian Eide, Geir Ringstad. In vivo assessment of cerebrospinal fluid efflux to nasal mucosa in humans. Scientific reports. 2020 Sep 11;10(1):14974

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PMID: 32917953

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