Karimy JK, Zhang J, Kurland DB, Theriault BC, Duran D, Stokum JA, Furey CG, Zhou X, Mansuri MS, Montejo J, Vera A, DiLuna ML, Delpire E, Alper SL, Gunel M, Gerzanich V, Medzhitov R, Simard JM, Kahle KT. Inflammation-dependent cerebrospinal fluid hypersecretion by the choroid plexus epithelium in posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus. Nature medicine. 2017 Aug;23(23). 997-1003. PMID: 28692063 [PubMed]
The choroid plexus epithelium (CPE) secretes higher volumes of fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, CSF) than any other epithelium and simultaneously functions as the blood-CSF barrier to gate immune cell entry into the central nervous system. Posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH), an expansion of the cerebral ventricles due to CSF accumulation following intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), is a common disease usually treated by suboptimal CSF shunting techniques. PHH is classically attributed to primary impairments in CSF reabsorption, but little experimental evidence supports this concept. In contrast, the potential contribution of CSF secretion to PHH has received little attention. In a rat model of PHH, we demonstrate that IVH causes a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)- and NF-κB-dependent inflammatory response in the CPE that is associated with a ∼3-fold increase in bumetanide-sensitive CSF secretion. IVH-induced hypersecretion of CSF is mediated by TLR4-dependent activation of the Ste20-type stress kinase SPAK, which binds, phosphorylates, and stimulates the NKCC1 co-transporter at the CPE apical membrane. Genetic depletion of TLR4 or SPAK normalizes hyperactive CSF secretion rates and reduces PHH symptoms, as does treatment with drugs that antagonize TLR4-NF-κB signaling or the SPAK-NKCC1 co-transporter complex. These data uncover a previously unrecognized contribution of CSF hypersecretion to the pathogenesis of PHH, demonstrate a new role for TLRs in regulation of the internal brain milieu, and identify a kinase-regulated mechanism of CSF secretion that could be targeted by repurposed US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs to treat hydrocephalus.