Cerebrospinal Fluid Flow in the Brain: Drivers, Characteristics and Mysteries

Colored lines show the flow lines of fluid surrounding blood vessels (white) in a mouse brain.
Doug Kelley

Colored lines show the flow lines of fluid surrounding blood vessels (white) in a mouse brain.

The human brain accounts for just 2% of the body's mass but metabolizes 25% of its calories, producing significant metabolic waste. However, waste buildup links to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The brain is thought to remove waste via the recently-identified glymphatic system, a combination of spaces and channels through which cerebrospinal fluid could flow to sweep away toxins like amyloid-beta.

At 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in Memorial Hall 253, Doug Kelley from the University of Rochester will talk about his lab's research on glymphatic fluid flow in the brain. This talk is sponsored by the U of A Integrative Systems Neuroscience Group.

With an interdisciplinary group of neuroscientists and physical scientists, Kelley's lab studies the fluid physics of the glymphatic system: Where does fluid flow, and how fast? What drives flow? What characteristics of the system enable essential functions? How can we improve waste removal? Can we use glymphatic flow to deliver drugs? The team combines physics tools like particle tracking and newly-invented front tracking with biological tools like two-photon imaging through cranial windows in order to address these questions with in vivo flow measurements.

Kelley will talk about recent results showing that glymphatic flow proceeds along vessels with near-optimal shapes, pulses with the heart, is driven by artery walls, can be manipulated by changing the wall motion, and is the dominant source of swelling soon after ischemic stroke.


Woodrow Shew, associate professor
Department of Physics
479-575-5693, shew@uark.edu


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