The importance of cerebrospinal fluid in cerebral cortical development

Document Type: Regular Paper


Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran


In this review the role of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in mammalian cerebral cortex development has been highlighted. Many studies have focused on the potential role of the CSF in the developmental process. In particular, the cerebral cortex develops from the germinal epithelium adjacent to the CSF. CSF contains proteins, growth factors and other neurotrophic factors which are important for neural cell survival and proliferation. The concentration of protein present in CSF during development is much higher than in adult. Draining CSF from the ventricles of the brain during development increases the number of neural cell deaths and decreases neural cell proliferation and thus thinning of the cerebral cortex. It has been shown that infusion of anti-nerve growth factor antibody into the CSF leads to decreased cell production in the cerebral cortical germinal epithelium. It has also been shown that CSF nerve growth factor (NGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) concentration change during chick embryonic development. Recent evidence shows that CSF regulates relevant aspects of neuroepithelial behavior such as proliferation, survival and migration by means of growth factors, cytokines and morphogenes. According to the data presented here, it is concluded that CSF may be regarded as an important environmental influence in cerebral cortical development.