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The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) offers a window into the workings of the brain and blood-brain barrier (BBB). Molecules that enter into the central nervous system (CNS) by passive diffusion or receptor-mediated transport through the choroid plexus often appear in the CSF prior to acting within the brain. Other molecules enter the CNS by passing through the BBB into the brain's interstitial fluid prior to appearing in the CSF. This pattern is also often observed for molecules synthesized by neurons or glia within the CNS. The CSF is therefore an important conduit for the entry and clearance of molecules into/from the CNS and thereby constitutes an important window onto brain activity and barrier function. Assessing the CSF basally, under experimental conditions, or in the context of challenges or metabolic diseases can provide powerful insights about brain function. Here, we review important findings made by our labs, as influenced by the late Randall Sakai, by interrogating the CSF.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.