Arachnoid cysts do not contain cerebrospinal fluid: A comparative chemical analysis of arachnoid cyst fluid and cerebrospinal fluid in adults
TypeJournal article; Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Background Arachnoid cyst (AC) fluid has not previously been compared with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the same patient. ACs are commonly referred to as containing "CSF-like fluid". The objective of this study was to characterize AC fluid by clinical chemistry and to compare AC fluid to CSF drawn from the same patient. Such comparative analysis can shed further light on the mechanisms for filling and sustaining of ACs. Methods Cyst fluid from 15 adult patients with unilateral temporal AC (9 female, 6 male, age 22-77y) was compared with CSF from the same patients by clinical chemical analysis. Results AC fluid and CSF had the same osmolarity. There were no significant differences in the concentrations of sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium or glucose. We found significant elevated concentration of phosphate in AC fluid (0.39 versus 0.35 mmol/L in CSF; p = 0.02), and significantly reduced concentrations of total protein (0.30 versus 0.41 g/L; p = 0.004), of ferritin (7.8 versus 25.5 ug/L; p = 0.001) and of lactate dehydrogenase (17.9 versus 35.6 U/L; p = 0.002) in AC fluid relative to CSF. Conclusions AC fluid is not identical to CSF. The differential composition of AC fluid relative to CSF supports secretion or active transport as the mechanism underlying cyst filling. Oncotic pressure gradients or slit-valves as mechanisms for generating fluid in temporal ACs are not supported by these results.