The cerebrospinal fluid locates not only in cord but also inside the brain and the vessels. Normally in an adult, the amount of it varies from 100 to 150 ml. The main sources of cerebrospinal fluid are the vascular plexuses of the ventricles of the brain. It is believed that spinal cord, ependyma and subependymal ventricular tissue, soft dura mater, glia, nervous tissue also participate in the formation of cerebrospinal fluid. It is fully updated up to 6 times a day. The cerebrospinal pressure is normal in the horizontal position of the body to be stable.
Based on the anatomical location of the CSF, the spinal cord is sampled for laboratory analysis. The procedure by which the withdrawal of the cerebrospinal fluid is performed is called the lumbar puncture. In traumatic and insult conditions, the permeability of the blood-brain barrier is impaired, which leads to the appearance in the CSF of iron-containing blood proteins, in particular, hemoglobin. The liquid can be influenced by strong drugs, so they are prescribed for the use under the supervision of a physician. In particular, we are talking about such strong analgesics as Tramadol, or opiate antidepressants, which can be bought at the pharmacy.
The cerebrospinal fluid has relatively constant properties, which can change in diseases of the central nervous system. The relative density of cerebrospinal fluid is stable, and its change indicates a pathological process. Usually, this occurs with infectious and toxic diseases (for example, meningitis, encephalitis, syphilis, etc.).
The color of the CSF can be grayish, pink, yellow in pathology. In the cases of a large quantity of blood, the cerebrospinal fluid has a bloody color or a type of blood. In the presence of changes in the blood, the cerebrospinal fluid acquires a dark cherry or reddish-brown color. Greenish-yellow turbid fluid is characteristic for purulent meningitis, the breakthrough of the abscess into the subarachnoid space or the ventricles of the brain. The yellow-brown color of the cerebrospinal fluid can be observed when a cyst of the brain tumor (more often craniopharyngioma) breaks into the cerebrospinal fluid. Attention is drawn to the transparency of the cerebrospinal fluid. Turbidity may be due to the presence of red blood cells, leukocytes, as well as a large number of microorganisms. The turbidity, which depends on the admixture of the blood elements, disappears after the centrifugation, and sediment is formed at the bottom of the tube, visible with the naked eye:
- in the case of red blood cell admixture, it is red,
- white blood cells are whitish or greenish (depending on their number).
Diseases in which the study of cerebrospinal fluid is crucial in diagnosis and treatment:
- intracerebral hemorrhages with a breakthrough of bleeding,
- infectious and inflammatory diseases,
- neoplastic diseases,
- demyelinating diseases (multiple sclerosis, encephalomyelitis, etc.),
- toxic lesions.
Thus, spinal fluid is not only a mechanical protective device for the brain and the vessels lying on its base but also a special internal environment that is necessary for the proper functioning of the central organs of the nervous system.