Interstitial fluid drainage is impaired in ischemic stroke and Alzheimer's disease mouse models

Michal Arbel-Ornath, Eloise Hudry, Katharina Eikermann-Haerter, Steven Hou, Julia L. Gregory, Lingzhi Zhao, Rebecca A. Betensky, Matthew P. Frosch, Steven M. Greenberg, Brian J. Bacskai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interstitial fluid (ISF) drainage pathway has been hypothesized to underlie the clearance of solutes and metabolites from the brain. Previous work has implicated the perivascular spaces along arteries as the likely route for ISF clearance; however, it has never been demonstrated directly. The accumulation of amyloid β (Aβ) peptides in brain parenchyma is one of the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD), and it is likely related to an imbalance between production and clearance of the peptide. Aβ drainage along perivascular spaces has been postulated to be one of the mechanisms that mediate the peptide clearance from the brain. We therefore devised a novel method to visualize solute clearance in real time in the living mouse brain using laser guided bolus dye injections and multiphoton imaging. This methodology allows high spatial and temporal resolution and revealed the kinetics of ISF clearance. We found that the ISF drains along perivascular spaces of arteries and capillaries but not veins, and its clearance exhibits a bi-exponential profile. ISF drainage requires a functional vasculature, as solute clearance decreased when perfusion was impaired. In addition, reduced solute clearance was observed in transgenic mice with significant vascular amyloid deposition; we suggest the existence of a feed-forward mechanism, by which amyloid deposition promotes further amyloid deposition. This important finding provides a mechanistic link between cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer disease and suggests that facilitation of Aβ clearance along the perivascular pathway should be considered as a new target for therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-364
Number of pages12
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid β
  • Cerebral amyloid angiopathy
  • Interstitial fluids
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Perivascular space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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