Choroid plexus

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Choroid plexus
Latin Plexus choroideus
MeSH A08.
NeuroNames ancil-456
NeuroLex ID Choroid plexus
TA A14.1.09.279
FMA 61934
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

The choroid plexus is a plexus of cells that produces the cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain. The choroid plexus consists of modified ependymal cells.



There are four choroid plexuses in the brain, one in each of the ventricles.

Choroid plexus is present in all components of the ventricular system except for the cerebral aqueduct, the frontal horn and the occipital horn of the lateral ventricles.[1]

Choroid plexus

Choroid plexus is found in the superior part of the inferior horn of the lateral ventricle. It follows up along this boundary, continuous with the inferior of the body of the lateral ventricles. It passes into the interventricular foramen, and is present at the top of the third ventricle.

There is also choroid plexus in the fourth ventricle, in the section closest to the bottom half of the cerebellum.


The choroid plexus consists of a layer of cuboidal epithelial cells surrounding a core of capillaries and loose connective tissue. The epithelium of the choroid plexus is continuous with the ependymal cell layer that lines the ventricles, but unlike the ependyma, the epithelial layer has tight junctions[2] between the cells on the side facing the ventricle (apical surface). These tight junctions prevent the majority of substances from crossing the cell layer into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF); thus the choroid plexus acts as a blood–CSF barrier. The choroid plexus folds into many villi around each capillary, creating frond-like processes that project into the ventricles. The villi, along with a brush border of microvilli, greatly increases the surface area of the choroid plexus.[citation needed] CSF is formed as plasma is filtered from the blood through the epithelial cells. Choroid plexus epithelial cells actively transport sodium ions into the ventricles and water follows the resulting osmotic gradient.[3]

The choroid plexus consists of many capillaries, separated from the ventricles by choroid epithelial cells. Fluid filters through these cells from blood to become cerebrospinal fluid. There is also much active transport of substances into, and out of, the CSF as it is made.


In addition to CSF production, the choroid plexus act as a filtration system, removing metabolic waste, foreign substances, and excess neurotransmitters from the CSF. In this way the choroid plexus has a very important role in helping to maintain the delicate extracellular environment required by the brain to function optimally.

The blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier is a pair of barriers that separates peripheral and cerebral blood from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF);[4] it is composed of epithelial cells of the choroid plexus at the peripheral blood–CSF boundary and the arachnoid membrane at the cerebral blood–CSF boundary.[4] The blood–CSF barrier serves the same purpose as the blood–brain barrier, but facilitates the transport of different substances into the brain due to the distinct structural characteristics between the two barrier systems.[4]

Clinical significance[edit]

Choroid plexus cysts[edit]

During embryological development, some fetuses may form choroid plexus cysts. These fluid-filled cysts can be detected by a detailed second trimester ultrasound. The finding is relatively common, with a prevalence of ~1%. Choroid plexus cysts are usually an isolated finding.[5] The cysts typically disappear later during pregnancy, and are usually harmless. They have no effect on infant and early childhood development.[6]

Cysts confers a 1% risk of fetal aneuploidy. The risk of aneuploidy increases to 10.5-12% if other risk factors or ultrasound findings are noted. Size, location, disappearance or progression, and whether the cysts are found on both sides or not do not affect the risk of aneuploidy. 44-50% of Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) cases will present with choroid plexus cysts, as well 1.4% of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) cases. ~75% of abnormal karyotypes associated with choroid plexus systs are trisomy 18, while the remainder are trisomy 21.[5]


There are three graded types of choroid plexus tumor that mainly affect young children. These malignant neoplasms are rare.


Choroid plexus translates from the Latin plexus chorioides,[7] which mirrors Ancient Greek χοριοειδές πλέγμα.[8] The word chorion was used by Galen to refer to the outer membrane enclosing the fetus. Both meanings of the word plexus are given as pleating, or braiding.[8] As often happens language changes and the use of both choroid or chorioid is both accepted. Nomina Anatomica (now Terminologia Anatomica) reflected this dual usage.

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Young, Paul A. (2007). Basic clinical neuroscience (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 292. ISBN 0-7817-5319-8. 
  2. ^ Hall, John (2011). Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (12th ed. ed.). Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders/Elsevier. p. 749. ISBN 978-1-4160-4574-8. 
  3. ^ Guyton, Arthur C.; Hall, John Edward (2005). Textbook of medical physiology (11th ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. pp. 764–7. ISBN 978-0-7216-0240-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Laterra J, Keep R, Betz LA, et al. (1999). "Blood–Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier". Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects. (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven. 
  5. ^ a b Drugan et al., 2000, American Journal of Medical Genetics
  6. ^ Digiovanni et al., 1997, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  7. ^ Suzuki, S., Katsumata, T., Ura, R. Fujita, T., Niizima, M. & Suzuki, H. (1936). Über die Nomina Anatomica Nova. Folia Anatomica Japonica, 14, 507-536.
  8. ^ a b Liddell, H.G. & Scott, R. (1940). A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


  • Brodbelt, A; Stoodley, M (Oct 2007). "CSF pathways: a review.". British journal of neurosurgery. 21 (5): 510–20. PMID 17922324. doi:10.1080/02688690701447420. 
  • Strazielle, N; Ghersi-Egea, JF (Jul 2000). "Choroid plexus in the central nervous system: biology and physiopathology.". Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology. 59 (7): 561–74. PMID 10901227. 

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