Date: 12 Nov 2010

Assessing Blood–Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier Permeability in the Rat Embryo

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Abstract

The rat is a useful model for studies of embryonic blood–CSF function in that the embryos are large enough to collect sufficient fluid samples for analysis and exteriorized embryos can be kept viable for several hours in order to conduct longer term experiments. Both quantitative and qualitative methods that are similar to those used in adult studies can be used to assess blood–CSF function in the rat embryo; however, there are technical aspects of these studies that are more challenging. The choice of the methods to be used depends largely on the question being asked. This chapter describes in detail the precise steps that need to be taken to keep rat embryos in a good physiological state while conducting the experiments, how to administer markers into the embryonic circulation, and how to sample blood and/or CSF from embryos. How to evaluate the results obtained is outlined at the end of each method, together with notes on some limitations that are inherent in developmental studies.