The regulatory roles of motile cilia in CSF circulation and hydrocephalus

Vijay Kumar, Zobia Umair, Shiv Kumar, Ravi Shankar Goutam, Soochul Park, Jaebong Kim

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47 Citations (Scopus)
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Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is an ultra-filtrated colorless brain fluid that circulates within brain spaces like the ventricular cavities, subarachnoid space, and the spine. Its continuous flow serves many primary functions, including nourishment, brain protection, and waste removal.

Main body
The abnormal accumulation of CSF in brain cavities triggers severe hydrocephalus. Accumulating evidence had indicated that synchronized beats of motile cilia (cilia from multiciliated cells or the ependymal lining in brain ventricles) provide forceful pressure to generate and restrain CSF flow and maintain overall CSF circulation within brain spaces. In humans, the disorders caused by defective primary and/or motile cilia are generally referred to as ciliopathies. The key role of CSF circulation in brain development and its functioning has not been fully elucidated.

In this review, we briefly discuss the underlying role of motile cilia in CSF circulation and hydrocephalus. We have reviewed cilia and ciliated cells in the brain and the existing evidence for the regulatory role of functional cilia in CSF circulation in the brain. We further discuss the findings obtained for defective cilia and their potential involvement in hydrocephalus. Furthermore, this review will reinforce the idea of motile cilia as master regulators of CSF movements, brain development, and neuronal diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages11
JournalFluids and Barriers of the CNS
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cilia
  • Ependymal cells
  • Brain development
  • Ciliary motility
  • Brain ventricular system
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Cilipathies


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