The choroid plexus epithelium constitutes a blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier, and is involved in regulation of the special composition of the CSF. The epithelium is provided with an ouabain-sensitive Na/K-pump located at the apical surface, actively pumping ions into the CSF. The choroid plexus epithelium has been described as “leaky” with a low transepithelial resistance, and a passive transepithelial flux following a paracellular route (intercellular spaces and cell junctions) also takes place. The present report describes the structural basis for these “barrier” properties of the choroid plexus epithelium as revealed by freeze fracture.
Choroid plexus from the lateral, third and fourth ventricles of rats were used. The tissue was fixed in glutaraldehyde and stored in 30% glycerol. Freezing was performed either in liquid nitrogen-cooled Freon 22, or directly in a mixture of liquid and solid nitrogen prepared in a special vacuum chamber. The latter method was always used, and considered necessary, when preparations of complementary (double) replicas were made.