Ventricular system

Last revised by Dr Grace Carpenter on 14 Jan 2021

The ventricular system in the brain is composed of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-filled ventricles and their connecting foramina. CSF is produced by ependymal cells which line the ventricles. They are continuous with the central canal. Ventricles contain around 20% of the total average adult CSF volume, around 20-25 mL.

The ventricular system consists of:

The interconnections between the ventricles occur through the following:

Both the cisterna magna and the cerebellopontine cistern are in the subarachnoid space. This space is continuous with the subarachnoid space around the cord down to the level of the cauda equina.

Major CSF production comes from choroid plexus found in the lateral, third and fourth ventricles of the brain which are highly vascularized epithelial tissue masses 3. Notably, choroid plexus is not found in the frontal or occipital horns of lateral ventricles, nor in the cerebral aqueduct.


Embryologically, ventricles originate from the central lumen of the neural tube and the cerebral vesicles to which it gives rise.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2: ventricles superimposed on brain
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  • Figure 3: coronal brain through 3rd ventricle
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  • Figure 4: brain (sagittal section)
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  • Figure 5: directional CSF flow
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