Spatial and temporal variation of routine parameters: pitfalls in the cerebrospinal fluid analysis in central nervous system infections

2022-07-06 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Spatial and temporal variation of routine parameters: pitfalls in the cerebrospinal fluid analysis in central nervous system infections​
Djukic, M. ; Lange, P. ; Erbguth, F. & Nau, R. ​ (2022) 
Journal of Neuroinflammation19(1) art. 174​.​ DOI: 

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Djukic, Marija ; Lange, Peter ; Erbguth, Frank; Nau, Roland 
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) space is convoluted. CSF flow oscillates with a net flow from the ventricles towards the cerebral and spinal subarachnoid space. This flow is influenced by heartbeats, breath, head or body movements as well as the activity of the ciliated epithelium of the plexus and ventricular ependyma. The shape of the CSF space and the CSF flow preclude rapid equilibration of cells, proteins and smaller compounds between the different parts of the compartment. In this review including reinterpretation of previously published data we illustrate, how anatomical and (patho)physiological conditions can influence routine CSF analysis. Equilibration of the components of the CSF depends on the size of the molecule or particle, e.g., lactate is distributed in the CSF more homogeneously than proteins or cells. The concentrations of blood-derived compounds usually increase from the ventricles to the lumbar CSF space, whereas the concentrations of brain-derived compounds usually decrease. Under special conditions, in particular when distribution is impaired, the rostro-caudal gradient of blood-derived compounds can be reversed. In the last century, several researchers attempted to define typical CSF findings for the diagnosis of several inflammatory diseases based on routine parameters. Because of the high spatial and temporal variations, findings considered typical of certain CNS diseases often are absent in parts of or even in the entire CSF compartment. In CNS infections, identification of the pathogen by culture, antigen detection or molecular methods is essential for diagnosis.
Issue Date
Journal of Neuroinflammation 
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2022



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