gms | German Medical Science

60th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
Joint Meeting with the Benelux countries and Bulgaria

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

24 - 27 May 2009, Münster

Catheterization of the middle cranial fossa of rats

Meeting Abstract

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  • A. Ehlert - Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Münster
  • B. Tiemann - Versuchstierhaltung, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 60. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit den Benelux-Ländern und Bulgarien. Münster, 24.-27.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. DocP10-11

doi: 10.3205/09dgnc363, urn:nbn:de:0183-09dgnc3630

Published: May 20, 2009

© 2009 Ehlert et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Methods reported to date for penetrating the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) containing subarachnoid (SA) space of small experimental animals have always entailed the use of stiff or relatively stiff catheters. In the present study, a less traumatic tapping procedure is described, which installs and maintains a catheter in the middle cranial fossa (MCF) of the rat for repeated use for an extended period of at least two weeks. The novel approach described was well tolerated by the animals. It has proved adequate for the repeated application of substances into the MCF.

Methods: After bore-hole trepanation at the os interparietale of Wistar rats and opening of the dura, the subdural/subarachnoid space was stretched by means of a saline injection. Like a cardiac catheter, the thin intracranial part of the extracted polyurethane catheter glided on the liquid film into the MCF between the cerebellum and cerebrum at the rostral petrosal bone edge. The intracranial part of the catheter had a lumen of about 70 µm and an external diameter of about 100 µm. The catheter was fixed by means of tissue adhesive in the bore-hole, and closed by means of a mandrin.

Results: The catheter was implanted in 27 animals. In 24 animals, the position of the catheter was regular in the subdural/subarachnoid gap in the MCF with subarachnoid distribution of injected test substances. The animals were not impeded by the catheter, and they were free of post-operative clinical findings. Catheters of 16 animals with daily rinsing remained freely permeable until the 15th post-operative day (POD). In eight animals the catheter was rinsed once per week; of these it remained open in four animals until the 21st POD, was removed from two animals on the 16th or 20 POD, and clogged in two animals on the 21st POD. In animals retaining the catheter until killing, it was found in a correct position without any macroscopic visible alteration of the brain tissue or blood vessels. Three animals developed fateful complications such as bleedings or mispositioning.

Conclusions: The animals obviously were not impaired by the catheters, even when the latter remained for weeks. The catheter is positioned in such a way that it could not be removed by the rat. Safe access to the SA space in the MCF is possible. The catheter was permeable for the desired period of time, so that e.g. repeated drug application is possible. If carefully positioned, brain tissue and blood vessels are not altered.