The glymphatic system, named from the glial cells and the lymphatic system that it mimics, may explain how one of the most metabolically active organs, the brain, clears waste products and excess fluids without a lymphatic system.
It is most active during sleep and may be implicated in headache and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease in which abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain and in excess are neurotoxic and cause cell death.
The glymphatic system concept was first described in 2012 in mice by researchers at U of Rochester New York.
Researchers in Norway published a case report supporting the existence of a glymphatic system in humans in 2015.
Better understanding of the glymphatic system may facilitate drug delivery into the...tough to get into...central nervous system to treat tumors and infection. Or to enhance its function to clear toxic accumulations of misfolded proteins seen in neurodegenerative disease.
Sci Transl Med. 2012;4(147):147ra111
Acta Radiol Open. 2015;4(11):2058460115609635