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Role of the pia mater in the transfer of substances in and out of the cerebrospinal fluid


The transfer of 14C leucine, 14C GABA and 14C urea from an isolated CSF compartment has been studied by implanting plastic cups on the cerebral cortex of anaesthetized cats under different experimental conditions. Removal of the pia mater resulted in a significant decrease in the disappearance of the substances from the cups. The intravenous infusion of GABA also stopped the escape of this amino acid from the plastic cups. When the cups contained only artificial CSF, and GABA was infused intravenously, its appearance in the cups followed a diffusional pattern. Ligaturing the sagittal venous sinus decreased the rate of disappearance of 14C urea from the plastic cups. Higher concentrations of GABA and leucine were found in the pial membrane than in the underlying brain tissue, after these amino acids in solution were left in the cortical cups for 5 hours. Pressure applied during implantation of the cups sometimes caused accumulation of fluid in the cups.

It is suggested that the pial membrane and its vasculature play an important role in the transfer of substances in and out of the subarachnoid space.

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Weight, P.M., Nogueira, G.J. & Levin, E. Role of the pia mater in the transfer of substances in and out of the cerebrospinal fluid. Exp Brain Res 13, 294–305 (1971).

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Key Words

  • Pia mater
  • Blood brain barrier
  • Pial vasculature
  • CSF formation
  • Meningeal permeability