Intracranial Fluid Compartments

Here is a very useful schematic illustration of the intracranial fluid compartments, which may help visualize some concepts in CNS drug delivery.


  • Arrows = direction of CSF flow
  • Broken arrows = where diffusion may occur between brain, blood vessels, CSF, tissue
    • (a) across BBB
    • (b) across choroid plexus
    • (c) across ependyma
    • (d) across pia-glial membranes (brain or spinal cord surface)
    • (e and f) across cell membranes of neurons and glial cells



Nau, R., F. Sorgel, and H. Eiffert. “Penetration Of Drugs Through The Blood-Cerebrospinal Fluid/Blood-Brain Barrier For Treatment Of Central Nervous System Infections”. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 23.4 (2010): 858-883.


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