Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) provides vital support for the brain. Abnormal CSF accumulation is deleterious for perinatal neurodevelopment, but how CSF leaves the brain during this critical period is unknown. We found in mice a postnatal neurodevelopmental transition phase featuring precipitous CSF K+ clearance, accompanied by water, through the choroid plexus (ChP). The period corresponds to a human fetal stage when canonical CSF clearance pathways have yet to form and congenital hydrocephalus begins to manifest. Unbiased ChP metabolic and ribosomal profiling highlighted this transition phase with increased ATP yield and activated energy-dependent K+ transporters, in particular the Na+-K+-Cl- and water cotransporter NKCC1. ChP-targeted NKCC1 overexpression enhanced K+-driven CSF clearance and enabled more permissive cerebral hydrodynamics. Moreover, ventriculomegaly in an obstructive hydrocephalus model was improved by ChP-targeted NKCC1 overexpression. Collectively, we identified K+-driven CSF clearance through ChP during a transient but critical neurodevelopmental phase, with translational value for pathologic conditions.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience