Cannula Implantation into the Cisterna Magna of Rodents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cisterna magna cannulation (CMc) is a straightforward procedure that enables direct access to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) without operative damage to the skull or the brain parenchyma. In anesthetized rodents, the exposure of the dura mater by blunt dissection of the neck muscles allows the insertion of a cannula into the cisterna magna (CM). The cannula, composed either by a fine beveled needle or borosilicate capillary, is attached via a polyethylene (PE) tube to a syringe. Using a syringe pump, molecules can then be injected at controlled rates directly into the CM, which is continuous with the subarachnoid space. From the subarachnoid space, we can trace CSF fluxes by convective flow into the perivascular space around penetrating arterioles, where solute exchange with the interstitial fluid (ISF) occurs. CMc can be performed for acute injections immediately following the surgery, or for chronic implantation, with later injection in anesthetized or awake, freely moving rodents. Quantitation of tracer distribution in the brain parenchyma can be performed by epifluorescence, 2-photon microscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), depending on the physico-chemical properties of the injected molecules. Thus, CMc in conjunction with various imaging techniques offers a powerful tool for assessment of the glymphatic system and CSF dynamics and function. Furthermore, CMc can be utilized as a conduit for fast, brain-wide delivery of signaling molecules and metabolic substrates that could not otherwise cross the blood brain barrier (BBB).


  • Anna L.R. Xavier
  • Natalie Linea Hauglund
  • Stephanie von Holstein-Rathlou
  • Qianliang Li
  • Simon Sanggaard
  • Nanhong Lou
  • Iben Lundgaard
  • Maiken Nedergaard
External organisations
  • University of Rochester
  • Yale University
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurosciences
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57378
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number135
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 23
Publication categoryResearch