The ventricles the the brain are a connecting network of cavities filled with cerebrospinal liquid (CSF) and also located within the mind parenchyma. The ventricular mechanism is composed of 2 lateral ventricles, the 3rd ventricle, the cerebral aqueduct, and the fourth ventricle (see the photos below). The choroid plexuses arelocated in the ventricles develop CSF, which fills the ventricles and subarachnoid space, following a bike of consistent production and also reabsorption.

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Brain, coronal view.
Meninges and ventricles of the brain.

The ventricular mechanism is embryologically derived from the neural canal, forming early in the development of the neural tube. The 3 mind vesicles (prosencephalon or forebrain, mesencephalon or midbrain, and also rhombencephalon or hindbrain) kind around the end of the very first gestational month. The neural canal dilates in ~ the prosencephalon, leading to the formation of the lateral ventricles and 3rd ventricle. The cavity of the mesencephalon develops the cerebral aqueduct. The dilation of the neural canal within the rhombencephalon creates the fourth ventricle.

The lateral ventricles interact with the third ventricle with interventricular foramens, and also the 3rd ventricle communicates with the fourth ventricle v the cerebral aqueduct (see the picture below). <1> during early development, the septum pellucidum is developed by the thinned wall surfaces of the 2 cerebral hemispheres and contains a fluid-filled cavity, called the cavum, which might persist.

The ventricular system of the person brain.

Tufts that capillaries invaginate the roofs that prosencephalon and rhombencephalon, creating the choroid plexuses of the ventricles. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is secreted by the choroid plexuses, pour it until it is full the ventricular system. CSF flows out of the fourth ventricle with the 3 apertures developed at the roof that the fourth ventricle through 12 weeks" gestation. <1>

Lateral ventricles

The largest cavities the the ventricular system are the lateral ventricles. Each lateral ventricle is separated into a main portion, formed by the body and also atrium (or trigone), and also 3 lateral expansions or horns that the ventricles. <1, 2> The central portion or the human body of the ventricle is located within the parietal lobe. The roof is created by the corpus callosum, and also the posterior portion of the septum pellucidum lies medially. The anterior component of the body of the fornix, the choroid plexus, lateral dorsal surface ar of the thalamus, stria terminalis, and also caudate nucleus, form the floor the the lateral ventricle. <2> check out the photo below.

Ventricles and also the boundaries of major adjacent anatomy.

The interventricular foramen is located in between the thalamus and also anterior column of the fornix, in ~ the anterior margin of the body. The 2 interventricular foramens (or foramina of Monro) attach the lateral ventricles v the third ventricle. The body of the lateral ventricle is linked with the occipital and also temporal horns through a broad area named the atrium. <1, 2>

The anterior or frontal horn is situated anterior come the interventricular foramen. The floor and the lateral wall surface are formed by the head of the caudate nucleus, the corpus callosum constitutes the roof and anterior border, and also the septum pellucidum delineates the medial wall. <2> The posterior or occipital horn is located within the occipital lobe. The yarn of the corpus callosum and also the splenium type the roof. The forceps significant is situated on the medial side and forms the bulb of the occipital horn. <1, 2>

The inferior or temporal horn is situated within the temporal lobe. The roof is formed by the fibers of the temporal lobe; the medial border has the stria terminalis and also tail of the caudate. The medial wall and the floor are developed by the hippocampus and also its connected structures. The amygdaloid complex is situated at the anterior finish of the inferior horn. <1, 2>

Capillaries that the choroid arteries from the pia mater project right into the ventricular cavity, forming the choroid plexus of the lateral ventricle (see the picture below). The choroid plexus is attached to the adjacent mind structures by a double layer that pia mater dubbed the tela choroidea. The choroid plexus extends indigenous the lateral ventricle right into the worse horn. The anterior and posterior horn have actually no choroid plexus.

The choroid plexus that the lateral ventricle is linked with the choroid plexus that the contralateral ventricle and the 3rd ventricle v the interventricular foramen. The anterior choroidal arteries (branch of interior carotid artery) and also lateral posterior choroidal arteries (branch the the posterior cerebral artery) kind the choroid plexus. Venous it is provided from the choroidal veins drainpipe into the cerebral veins. <2>

Third ventricle

The 3rd ventricle is the narrow vertical cavity that the diencephalon. A slim tela choroidea supplied by the medial posterior choroidal arteries (branch that posterior cerebral artery) is developed in the roof that the 3rd ventricle. The fornix and also the body callosum are situated superiorly. The lateral wall surfaces are developed by the medial thalamus and also hypothalamus. The anterior commissure, the lamina terminalis, and the optic chiasm delineate the anterior wall. The floor of the 3rd ventricle is developed by the infundibulum, i m sorry attaches the hypophysis, the tuber cinereum, the mammillary bodies, and also the upper end of the midbrain. The posterior wall surface is developed by the pineal gland and also habenular commissure. The interthalamic adhesions space bands of gray issue with unknown sensible significance, which cross the cavity of the ventricle and also attach come the outside walls. <1, 2>

Fourth ventricle

The fourth ventricle is connected to the 3rd ventricle by a narrow cerebral aqueduct. The 4th ventricle is a diamond-shaped cavity located posterior to the pons and upper medulla oblongata and anterior-inferior to the cerebellum. The remarkable cerebellar peduncles and also the anterior and also posterior medullary vela form the roof of the fourth ventricle. The apex or fastigium is the extension of the ventricle up into the cerebellum. The floor of the 4th ventricle is named the rhomboid fossa. The lateral recess is an extension of the ventricle ~ above the dorsal worse cerebellar peduncle.

Inferiorly, the extends right into the main canal the medulla. The fourth ventricle communicates with the subarachnoid an are through the lateral foramen of Luschka, located near the flocculus the the cerebellum, and also through the typical foramen of Magendie, located in the roof that the ventricle. Most of the CSF outflow passes through the medial foramen. The cerebral aqueduct has no choroid plexus. The tela choroidea that the 4th ventricle, i beg your pardon is offered by branches the the posterior worse cerebellar arteries, is located in the posterior medullary velum. <1, 2>

Cerebrospinal fluid

CSF is a clear, watery fluid that fills the ventricles of the brain and the subarachnoid space around the mind and spinal cord. CSF isprimarilyproduced by the choroid plexus that the ventricles (≤70% that the volume); most of that is developed by the choroid plexus the the lateral ventricles. The remainder of the CSF production is the an outcome of transependymal circulation from the brain to the ventricles. <3>

CSF operation from the lateral ventricles, through the interventricular foramens, and into the third ventricle, cerebral aqueduct, and the fourth ventricle. Only a very small amount beginning the main canal the the spinal cord. CSF circulation is the an outcome of a mix of factors, which encompass the hydrostatic push generated during CSF manufacturing (known as bulk flow), arterial pulsations the the large arteries, and directional beating of the ependymal cilia. Hydrostatic pressure has a predominant function in the CSF flow within the bigger ventricles, whereas cilia donate the motion of the CSF in the narrow regions of the ventricular system, such as the cerebral aqueduct. Immotile cilia syndrome is a rare cause of hydrocephalus in children. <4>

The ventricles constitute the internal component of a connecting system containing CSF. The external part of the system is created by the subarachnoid an are and cisterns. The communication between the 2 components occurs at the level of fourth ventricle v the typical foramen that Magendie (into the cistern magna) and also the 2 lateral foramina that Luschka (into the spaces about the brainstem cerebellopontine angles and prepontine cisterns). The CSF is soaked up from the subarachnoid room into the venous blood (of the sinuses or veins) by the small arachnoid villi, which are clusters of cell projecting from subarachnoid room into a venous sinus, and also the larger arachnoid granulations. <4, 5>

The complete CSF volume included within the connecting system in adult is around 150 mL, with around 25% filling the ventricular system. CSF is developed at a price of around 20 mL/h, and an estimated 400-500 mL the CSF is created and soaked up daily.

CSF absorption volume is normally roughly 2-4 time the price of production. The regular CSF pressure is in between 5-15 mm Hg (65-195 mm H2 O) in adults. In youngsters younger 보다 6 years, regular CSF push ranges between 10-100 mm H2 O. <4, 5>

CSF plays crucial role in sustaining the mind growth during evolution, protecting against external trauma, removed of metabolites developed by neuronal and glial cell activity, and also transport the biologically energetic substances (like hormones and neuropeptides) transparent the brain. <4>


Microscopic Anatomy

The ventricles are lined by a single layer the ciliated squamous or columnar ependymal cells. The ependymal cells develop from tanycytes, varieties of transitional cells with radially expanding processes, i m sorry come in contact with the blood vessels, neurons, and glia.

The choroid plexus forms early on in development, quickly after the closing of the neural tube. The ependymal cell coming in call with the surrounding mesodermally derived tissue form pseudorosettes, which protrude in ~ the neural tube at the sites of ventricular device formation. The differentiation of these cells through resulting advance of the choroid plexus is largely completed by 22 weeks" gestation. <4>

The blood-brain barrier is created by capillary endothelial cells, pluripotent pericytes, a dense basement membrane, and also perivascular end-feet of astrocytes. The vascular endothelial barrier is created by tight junctions and also adherence junctions in between endothelial cells. Cerebral capillary endothelial cells absence fenestrations, have actually fewer pinocytic vesicles, have an increased number of mitochondria, and have a more thickness basement membrane (30-40 mm thick) and nearby astrocytic end-feet loved one to the systemic endothelial cells. A single cell normally spans the entire circumference that a cerebral capillary lumen.

In the blood, the CSF barrier and epithelial cell of the plexus are connected by chop junctions, forming a continuous layer that permits the passage of selected substances. The capillaries the the choroid plexuses have much more fenestration than the mind capillaries. The choroid plexus capillaries room separated native the choroidal cells by a basement membrane and also a great of connective tissue. The ependymal cell kind the lining that the ventricles and are constant with the epithelium the the choroid plexus.

The arachnoid barrier is developed by the external layer the the cells of the arachnoid, which space joined by chop junctions and also have similar permeability to those the the mind blood vessels. <2, 4>

The main attributes of the blood-brain obstacle are to avoid the entrance of potentially harmful substances into the CNS, to maintain ion and also volume regulation, and to preserve metabolic and also immunologic function. A dysfunction or disruption in the blood-brain barrier may be encountered in many an illness states, such as infection, inflammation, visibility of tumors, and hypoxic-ischemic events with potential major neurologic sequelae. <4>

The blood-brain barrier is absent in several committed areas of the brain, known as circumventricular organs. These room the area postrema that the 4th ventricle, the typical eminence, basal hypothalamus/neurohypophysis, the pineal gland, subfornical and also subcommissural organs, and lamina terminalis. In this regions, the ependymal lining has discontinuous space junctions and few tight junctions, and also the fenestrated capillaries are extremely permeable. These areas have particular secretory role (neurohypophysis) or surveillance role (eg, area postrema). <4>

CSF is an ultrafiltrate of plasma. Salt is secreted right into the CSF through the sodium-potassium ATPase pump, followed by the passive transport of water molecules. Intracellular carbonic anhydrase generates bicarbonate and also hydrogen ions. Most proteins room excluded indigenous the CSF by the blood-brain barrier. <4>


Pathophysiologic Variants

Intracranial pressure is the pressure within the closeup of the door craniospinal compartment, which incorporates 3 key components: brain parenchyma, intracranial cerebrospinal liquid (CSF), and cerebral blood volume.

An increase in CSF push happens as a an outcome of an increase in the intracranial volume (eg, tumors), blood volume (with hemorrhages), or CSF volume (eg, hydrocephalus). Blocking the circulation of the CSF leader to dilatation the the ventricular mechanism upstream to the level of obstruction, identified as hydrocephalus.


The old classification divides hydrocephalus right into 2 types: noncommunicating and communicating. In noncommunicating or obstructive hydrocephalus, the CSF accumulates in ~ the ventricles together a result of one obstruction in ~ the ventricular system (most frequently at the level of cerebral aqueduct). In connecting hydrocephalus, the CSF flows freely through the outflow foramens of the 4th ventricles into the arachnoid space.

Current imaging techniques, consisting of CTscanning and MRI (see the picture below), do inferences about the level the obstruction, depending upon the visibility or lack of ventriculomegaly, specifically fourth ventricle dilatation. 4th ventricle dilatation indicates obstruction distally, generally at the level of the subarachnoid space. A tiny fourth ventricle suggests obstruction proximal to the 4th ventricle. <2, 3>

Coronal magnetic resonance picture shows a colloid cyst (arrow) in the roof that the third ventricle. The patient has actually mild hydrocephalus.

Current hatchet classifies all species of hydrocephalus as obstructive at some level, except for the rare reason of CSF overproduction associated with choroid plexus papilloma. <6, 7>

Intraventricular obstructive hydrocephalus describes hydrocephalus result from an obstruction in ~ the ventricular device (eg, aqueductal stenosis). The constant production the the CSF leader to dilatation of one or more ventricles, depending upon the website of obstruction. In the acute obstruction phase, transependymal circulation of CSF might occur. The gyri space flattened against the skull. If the skull sutures room not calcified, such as in children younger than period 2 years, the head may enlarge.

Extraventricular obstructive hydrocephalus suggests an obstruction external the ventricles (eg, in ~ the level of arachnoid villi, as a result of previous bleeding, infection, or inflammation, which results in thickening that the arachnoid and decreased absorption of the CSF). <3, 7>

Hydrocephalus causes symptoms mainly as result of increased intracranial pressure. The symptoms and also findings vary through age. Clinical functions of hydrocephalus in infants include irritability, lethargy, poor feeding, vomiting, and failure come thrive. In older children and adults, morning headache linked with vomiting, diplopia, gait dysfunction as a an outcome of stretching of the paracentral corticospinal fibers, coordination problems, and impairment in the higher functions space seen.

Macrocephalus, cracked pot sound with percussion, separation the sutures, frontal bossing, or occipital prominence is usually seen in kids with hydrocephalus that arisen before the close up door of the cranial vault. Papilledema, exudates or hemorrhages, and also optic atrophy may be seen upon funduscopic examination in children or adults. Enlargement of the remote spot is likewise noted.

Diplopia is usually caused by bilateral 6th nerve palsy because of increased intracranial pressure. A paralysis of the upgaze or partial Parinaud syndrome (setting sunlight sign) is seen as a an outcome of press on the remarkable colliculus or tectum. Other findings include hormonal alters as a an outcome of third ventricle dilatation and also pressure on the hypothalamic-pituitary structures, cognitive dysfunction, transforms in personality may be seen, and, occasionally, seizures. Posterior fossa tumors may reason transforaminal herniation the the cerebellar tonsils v neck stiffness. <3>

The etiologies and pathogenesis the hydrocephalus incorporate overproduction, blockage, or reduced absorption. The only recognized etiology that excess manufacturing is choroid plexus papilloma, which accounts for less than 2% of childhood tumors.

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Etiologies the hydrocephalus an additional to blockage or decreased absorption include developmental abnormalities, trauma, tumors, infectious, inflammatory, and idiopathic. Solid tumors create hydrocephalus by obstruction the the ventricles, vice versa, nonsolid tumors (eg, leukemia, carcinomatous infiltration) dilute CSF absorption within the subarachnoid space. <3, 7>

Third ventricle obstruction may an outcome from a colloid cyst, large hypothalamic-optic or thalamic glioma, or suprasellar mass

Obstruction at the level of fourth ventricle may be led to by posterior fossa tumors, hemorrhage, or ventriculitis

Obstruction the the 4th ventricle foramina the Luschka and Magendie may be because of a Dandy-Walker malformation, arachnoid cyst, epidemic (eg, ventriculitis, meningitis), or cerebellar tumors

Obstruction at the level that subarachnoid an are is usually resulted in by hemorrhage (subarachnoid or subdural), meningitis, and, rarely, through Chiari malformation

Congenital hydrocephalus has an incidence that 0.4-0.8 every 1000 live births and also stillbirths; noncommunicating hydrocephalus is the most common kind of hydrocephalus in fetuses. Aqueductal stenosis is the most common cause of congenital hydrocephalus, whereas mass lesions room the most common reason of aqueductal obstruction during childhood. <3> Other reasons of congenital noncommunicating hydrocephalus incorporate the following:

Chiari malformation

Vein that Galen malformation

Hydrancephaly, porencephaly, and schizencephaly

Hydranencephaly results from instead of of the brain parenchyma by the CSF. Reasons include a fail in normal mind development, intrauterine an illness destroying the normal brain tissue, or untreated steady obstructive hydrocephalus. <3>

Porencephaly refers to hemispheric cysts result from the devastation of immature mind parenchyma, which may or may not interact with the lateral ventricle and subarachnoid space.

Schizencephaly is the term supplied for a slit in the mind parenchyma the is lined v dysplastic gray matter, expanding from the ventricles come the cortex. <3, 8>

The uniformly dilatated ventricles through normal CSF press are classified as normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). Arrested hydrocephalus might represent a kind of normal push hydrocephalus. Normal push hydrocephalus may be attach by gait disorder, incontinence, and dementia in yonsi patients. The etiology is presumed to be idiopathic, resulting in enhanced resistance come CSF absorption throughout the arachnoid villi. A remote history of trauma, infection, or subarachnoid hemorrhage may be elicited occasionally. CT scanning or MRI discover uniform ventricular dilatation the end of proportion come the cortical atrophy, with periventricular lucencies. <4>

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) (also well-known as pseudotumor cerebri) is a diagnosis of exclusion. Mainly seen in young, obese ladies (age 20-40 y; female-to-male ratio, 3:1), that manifests through headaches and visual disturbances; in the many severe cases, visual loss might result. The eye examination findings are associated to enhanced intracranial pressure and also include papilledema, retinal hemorrhages, exudates, enlargement the the blind spot, and also sixth cranial nerve palsies. ~ above CT scan or MRI, the ventricular system shows up normal. North sella might be watched in a little percentile of patients. Lumbar puncture expose elevated CSF pressure higher than 250 mm H2 O, with normal CSF composition. <9>


Treatment the hydrocephalus is very diverse, including conservative and surgical approaches, depending on the basic abnormality and also the site of obstruction. <3, 7>

In patients through normal pressure hydrocephalus, large-volume lumbar puncture through removal that 40-50 mL the CSF is followed by clinical innovation and high convexity tightness, as watched on CT scan or MRI, show a potential benefit with shunting procedures. <10> Isotope cisternography and also perfusion test are additional tests supplied in selecting surgical candidates. <11>

For idiopathic intracranial hypertension, the therapy is command at lowering CSF pressure and also volume. The mainstays of medical treatment incorporate weight reduction, low salt diet, and diuretics (acetazolamide). <9, 12> A surgical technique is encourage in the setup of fail of standard medical treatment, consisting of shunting, optic nerve fenestration, and, much more recently, venous sinus stenting. <13, 14> In obese patients through idiopathic intracranial hypertension, there have actually been reports that suggest a potential benefit in resolution of symptoms after bariatric surgery. <15>

CSF leak and low pressure may happen after lumbar puncture, dural surgical procedures, or together a voluntary thecal tear. A headache that intensifies in the upright position is the clinical hallmark the CSF leaks. Treatment relies on the etiology and includes bedrest, hydration, and also an autologous blood patch. <16>

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