While communicating hydrocephalus (CH) is often characterized by increased pulsatile flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the cerebral aqueduct, a clear-cut explanation for this phenomenon is lacking. Increased pulsatility of the entire cerebral vasculature including the cortical capillaries has been suggested as a causative mechanism. To test this theory, we used two-photon microscopy to measure flow pulsatility in neocortical capillaries 40 to 500 m below the pial surface in adult rats with CH at 5 to 7 days (acute, n=8) and 3 to 5 weeks (chronic, n=5) after induction compared with intact controls (n=9). Averaging over all cortical depths, no increase in capillary pulsatility occurred in acute (pulsatility index (PI): 0.15±0.06) or chronic (0.14±0.05) CH animals compared with controls (0.18±0.07; P=0.07). More specifically, PI increased significantly with cortical depth in controls (r=0.35, P<0.001), but no such increase occurred in acute (r=0.06, P=0.3) or chronic (r=0.05, P=0.5) CH. Pulsatile CSF aqueductal flow, in contrast, was elevated 10-to 500-fold compared with controls. We conclude that even in the presence of markedly elevated pulsatile CSF flow in the aqueduct, there is no concurrent increase in microvascular pulsatile flow.
- animal studies
- brain imaging
- cerebral blood flow measurement
- two-photon microscopy