CSF hyperdynamics in rats mimicking the obesity and androgen excess characteristic of patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Jonathan H Wardman, Søren Norge Andreassen, Trine L Toft-Bertelsen, Mette Nyholm Jensen, Jens E Wilhjelm, Bjarne Styrishave, Steffen Hamann, Steffen Heegaard, Alexandra J Sinclair, Nanna MacAulay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a syndrome exhibiting elevated intracranial pressure (ICP), visual disturbances, and severe headache. IIH primarily affects young obese women, though it can occur in individuals of any age, BMI, and sex. IIH is characterized by systemic metabolic dysregulation with a profile of increased androgen hormones. However, the contribution of obesity/hormonal perturbations to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics remains unresolved.

METHODS: We employed obese female Zucker rats and adjuvant testosterone to reveal IIH causal drivers. ICP and CSF dynamics were determined with in vivo experimentation and magnetic resonance imaging, testosterone levels assessed with mass spectrometry, and choroid plexus function revealed with transcriptomics.

RESULTS: Obese rats had undisturbed CSF testosterone levels and no changes in ICP or CSF dynamics. Adjuvant testosterone treatment of obese rats elevated the CSF secretion rate, although with no effect on the ICP, due to elevated CSF drainage capacity of these rats.

CONCLUSIONS: Obesity in itself therefore does not suffice to recapitulate the IIH symptoms in rats, but modulation of CSF dynamics appears with adjuvant testosterone treatment, which mimics the androgen excess observed in female IIH patients. Obesity-induced androgen dysregulation may thus contribute to the disease mechanism of IIH and could potentially serve as a future therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalFluids and Barriers of the CNS
Volume21
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)10
ISSN2045-8118
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2024

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