Background: The distribution of cranio-spinal compliance (CSC) in the brain and spinal cord is a fundamental question, as it would determine the overall role of the compartments in modulating ICP in healthy and diseased states. Invasive methods for measurement of CSC using infusion-based techniques provide overall CSC estimate, but not the individual sub-compartmental contribution. Additionally, the outcome of the infusion-based method depends on the infusion site and dynamics. This article presents a method to determine compliance distribution between the cranium and spinal canal non-invasively using data obtained from patients. We hypothesize that this CSC distribution is indicative of the ICP. Methods: We propose a lumped-parameter model representing the hydro and hemodynamics of the cranio-spinal system. The input and output to the model are phase-contrast MRI derived volumetric transcranial blood flow measured in vivo, and CSF flow at the spinal cervical level, respectively. The novelty of the method lies in the model mathematics that predicts CSC distribution (that obeys the physical laws) from the system dc gain of the discrete-domain transfer function. 104 healthy individuals (48 males, 56 females, age 25.4 ± 14.9 years, range 3-60 years) without any history of neurological diseases, were used in the study. Non-invasive MR assisted estimate of ICP was calculated and compared with the cranial compliance to prove our hypothesis. Results: A significant negative correlation was found between model-predicted cranial contribution to CSC and MR-ICP. The spinal canal provided majority of the compliance in all the age groups up to 40 years. However, no single sub-compartment provided majority of the compliance in 41-60 years age group. The cranial contribution to CSC and MR-ICP were significantly correlated with age, with gender not affecting the compliance distribution. Spinal contribution to CSC significantly positively correlated with CSF stroke volume. Conclusions: This paper describes MRI-based non-invasive way to determine the cranio-spinal compliance distribution in the brain and spinal canal sub-compartments. The proposed mathematics makes the model always stable and within the physiological range. The model-derived cranial compliance was strongly negatively correlated to non-invasive MR-ICP data from 104 patients, indicating that compliance distribution plays a major role in modulating ICP.
- Cerebrospinal fluid dynamics
- Cranio-spinal compliance distribution
- Intracranial pressure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience