Home >> Background >> Perivascular Spaces and the Glymphatic System

We are interested in a feature of the brain called the perivascular space (PVS). These spaces enlarge in SVD. We are trying to understand what causes this, what happens to the movement of fluid in the brain when this occurs, and what the downstream effects of this are. 

PVS, also known historically as Virchow-Robin spaces, surround vessels in the brain. These spaces act as a conduit for glymphatic fluid.

The glymphatic fluid system is analagous to the lymphatic system and is mostly active during sleep, when it clears waste products such as amyloid β from the brain.

This pathway is essential for maintaining brain homeostasis, therefore compromised function may have a negative impact on brain health. Enlarged PVS detected in SVD may be an indicator of impaired glymphatic transport. 

Further Reading

Iliff et al. (2013) Brain-wide pathway for waste clearance captured by contrast-enhanced MRI. J Clin Invest 123(3):1299-309 PMID: 23434588

Iliff et al. (2012) A paravascular pathway facilitates CSF flow through the brain parenchyma and clearance of interstitial solutes, including amyloid ß Sci Transl Med 4(147):147 PMID: 22896675

Jessen et al. (2015). The glymphatic system: a beginner's guide Neurochem Res 40(12):2583-99 PMID: 25947369