How is extracellular diffusion regulated in the brain?
In the brain, communication between cells depends on diffusion in the extracellular space (ECS). Molecular signals essential for brain function, such as neurotransmitters, cytokines or drugs, all travel through these narrow gaps. Diffusion in this dynamic compartment is hindered mostly by geometry, but the extracellular matrix and glial cells also play an essential role, in particular in brain pathology. With the last review dating back to 2008, here we discuss and update these and other concepts, including novel imaging approaches and mathematical models that measure or estimate diffusion. We conclude by identifying unsolved questions in the field, and suggesting how future developments may tackle them.
Tønnesen J, Hrabĕtová S, Soria FN. “Local diffusion in the extracellular space of the brain”. Neurobiology of Disease 2023, 177:105981.