Background: The impaired drainage of cerebrospinal fluid through the glymphatic system is thought to play a role in the idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) pathophysiology. Limited data exist regarding the glymphatic system's involvement in pediatric patients with IIH. Therefore, the study's objective was to quantitatively evaluate alterations in parenchymal diffusivity and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- visible dilated perivascular spaces (PVS) as imaging indicators of glymphatic dysfunction in pediatric patients with IIH. Methods: Patients diagnosed with IIH in 2017-2022 in a single tertiary center (Sheba Medical Center, Israel) were retrospectively reviewed. Twenty-four pediatric patients were enrolled. All patients underwent clinical 3-T brain MRI. The control group included 24 age- and gender-matched healthy subjects with a normal-appearing brain on imaging. We used automatic atlas-based diffusion-weighted imaging analysis to determine regional diffusivity of the thalamus, caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, hippocampus, amygdala, and brain stem. PVS were evaluated using a semi-quantitative rating scale on T2-weighted images. Variables were compared using the Mann-Whitney test. Multivariate analysis of covariance was used to test for differences between controls and IIH patients. Results: No significant differences in regional brain diffusivity were observed between individuals with IIH and healthy controls (P=0.14-0.91 for various brain regions). The number of visible PVS was comparable between patients with IIH and the control group across all evaluated sites (P=0.12-0.74 for various brain regions). Conclusions: Pediatric IIH patients exhibited similar patterns of parenchymal diffusivity and PVS compared to age-matched controls. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the glymphatic system may play a role in the pathophysiology of pediatric IIH, although previously postulated. However, employing more sophisticated magnetic resonance (MR) techniques could enhance the sensitivity in uncovering underlying glymphatic dysfunction. Further research is warranted to validate and explore this association in larger cohorts and investigate the underlying mechanisms involved in IIH.
- Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH)
- diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (diffusion-weighted MRI)
- glymphatic system
- perivascular spaces (PVS)
- pseudotumor cerebri