Paper - The development of cerebro-spinal fluid pathway in human embryos (1977)

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Osaka K. Matsumoto S. and Yasuda M. The development of cerebro-spinal fluid pathway in human embryos. (1977) (Article in Japanese) No Shinkei Geka. 5(10): 1047-1055. PMID 909616

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This 1977 historic paper by Osaka, Matsumoto and Yasuda describes development of ventricular cerebro-spinal fluid pathway in human embryos using Kyoto Collection human embryos. The original article was in Japanese and only the abstract is shown online for educational purposes.

Also by this author: Osaka K, Handa H, Matsumoto S & Yasuda M. (1980). Development of the cerebrospinal fluid pathway in the normal and abnormal human embryos. Childs Brain , 6, 26-38. PMID: 7351160

Development of the cerebrospinal fluid pathway in the normal and abnormal human embryos. Osaka K, Handa H, Matsumoto S, Yasuda M.


The subarachnoid space, the chorioid plexus and the arachnoid villi are microscopically studied in 60 normal human embryos and in 3 abnormal human embryos with rhombencephaloschisis and cervical myeloschisis. The subarachnoid space has been generally considered to be developed by outflow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the choroid-plexus origin from the IVth ventricle. This generally accepted concept does not meet with our findings: (1) cavity formation in the meninx primitiva is seen before appearance of the choroid plexus; (2) the primitive subarachnoid space is developed earlier in the prepontine region than in the area dorsal to the rhombic roof, and (3) the primitive subarachnoid space is formed in the embryos with dysraphism where the perineural subarachnoid space is separated from the ventricles. Apparently the embryonic pattern of CSF circulation should be much different from the generally believed pattern of adult, since the arachnoid villi are absent in the embryos and the ability of production of CSF in the embryonic choroid plexus is questionable. It is suggested that such embryonic pattern of CSF production and absorption may partly persist in adult human being.

Week: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Carnegie stage: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Modern Notes: ventricular | Kyoto Collection | Image - Mineo Yasuda

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The Development of Cerebro-spinal Fluid Pathway in Human Embryos

Prof. Mineo Yasuda
Prof. Mineo Yasuda

Osaka K. Matsumoto S. and Yasuda M.


The early development of the subarachnoid space, the choroid plexus, and the arachnoid villi was studied in 60 normal human embryos ranging from Carnegie stage 12 to 23.

The embryos were fixed in Bouin's fluid, paraffin-embedded, serially sectioned and stained with hematoxylin-eosin and Azan. One abnormal human embryo with exencephaly and myeloschisis in the high cervical cord was added for the study.

At stage 14, primitive subarachnoid space (future subarachnoid space) is first distinguishable as cavity formation within the meninx primitiva in the areas ventral to the middle brain vesicle. The development of the primitive subarachnoid space precedes the appearance of the choroid plexus. The primitive subarachnoid space appears earlier in the region ventral to the rhombencephalon than in the region posterior to the fourth ventricle.

By stage 20, a primitive subarachnoid space almost completely surrounds the neural tube. A fairly-well developed primitive subarachnoid space was observed in the abnormal human embryo, in which the fourth ventricle was open to the amniotic cavity and the ventricular system was completely separated from the primitive subarachoid space. These findings imply that the extraventricular spread of fluid of choroid plexus origin is not an essential factors, and that probably it is not even an important factor, for the development of the subarachnoid space.

The arachnoid villi dose not appear even at the end of the embryonal stage. Absorption of the cerebrospinal fluid in an embryo should be done by the way other than the arachnoid villi.

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 23) Embryology Paper - The development of cerebro-spinal fluid pathway in human embryos (1977). Retrieved from

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