Jennifer Strahle, MD

Jennifer Strahle, MD

Associate Professor, WashU Neurosurgery

Developmental Cerebrospinal Fluid Circulation Disorders

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) disorders are the most common reason for neurosurgical intervention in pediatric patients. Preterm intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) results in brain injury and hydrocephalus. It is unknown how hydrocephalus develops in this population and there are no preventative treatments for hydrocephalus or brain injury. My lab studies how the release of blood breakdown products after IVH results in damage to the cilia-lined ependyma and choroid plexus of the ventricular system. The subventricular zone lies subjacent to the ventricle and contains neural progenitor cells, which extend cilia-bearing processes to the ventricular surface. We study how neurodevelopment is altered after IVH (through ventricular injury or direct injury to the subventricular zone) and if any repair mechanisms exist. Ultimately our goal is to understand how ventricular damage and/or cilia dysfunction result in hydrocephalus. In addition to the study of pathologic CSF disorders such as hydrocephalus, we aim to understand the nature and role of CSF circulation during development.

My research is in line with the mission of the Hope Center, which is to understand how brain/neural injury occurs and how cells are repaired. Neonatal IVH occurs during a key period of neurodevelopment and we increasingly see survivors of IVH born as young as 24 weeks gestation. It is unknown how IVH results in neuronal death in this vulnerable population and if any repair mechanisms are at play. Hydrocephalus is a frequent sequela of IVH, which usually requires lifelong treatment. Understanding how IVH causes neuronal injury and hydrocephalus will hopefully allow for targeted therapeutics to prevent the downstream effects of IVH.

More about the Strahle lab