The Blood-Brain and Other Neural Barriers

Volume 686 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 247-265


Assessing Blood–Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier Permeability in the Rat Embryo

  • Norman R. SaundersAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne Email author 
  • , C. Joakim EkAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne
  • , Mark D. HabgoodAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne
  • , Pia JohanssonAffiliated withInstitute for Stem Cell Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München
  • , Shane LiddelowAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne
  • , Katarzyna M. DziegielewskaAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne

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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.

Key words

Choroid plexus Blood–CSF barrier Development Cerebrospinal fluid Rat embryo