Cerebrospinal fluid may nourish cerebral vessels through pathways in the adventitia that may be analogous to systemic vasa vasorum

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✓ Cerebral blood vessels are devoid of vasa vasorum. Therefore, the authors have studied the microarchitecture of the adventitia of large feline cerebral vessels and systemic vessels of the same size, in an effort to determine how the vessels are nourished. The cerebral vessels contain a rete vasorum in the adventitia that is permeable to large proteins and is in continuity with the subarachnoid space. This substructure may be analogous to the systemic vasa vasorum and may contribute to the nutrition of the cerebral arteries.

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Address reprint requests to: Nicholas T. Zervas, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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Figures

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    Scanning electron micrograph of feline brain stem demonstrating the spatial relationship of the basilar artery in the subarachnoid space to the arachnoid and brain stem. × 200.

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    Scanning electron micrograph of the adventitial surface of a feline basilar artery. Note the red blood cell (R) and surface stomata (arrows). Scale, 10 µ. Insert: Highly magnified view through a stoma looking into the trabecular adventitia. Note the collagen fibers. Scale, 1 µ.

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    Scanning electron micrograph of the feline omental artery and its spatial relationship to lipid cells and mesothelium. × 200.

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    Scanning electron micrograph of the adventitial surface of an omental artery demonstrating collagen bundles, lipid cell (arrow), and vasa vasorum extending into the adventitia. × 2000.

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    Transmission electron micrograph of cerebral blood vessel adventitial cells bordering the subarachnoid space (SAS). Upper: View showing desmosomes (large arrow) and close apposition of cells without specialization (small arrow). Center: A nexus can be seen (arrow). Lower: Arrow indicates an open space (uncoupled nexus?). Scale, 1 mµ.

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    Scanning electron micrograph of a feline basilar artery in cross section, demonstrating intima with endothelial cells oriented with blood flow (arrows), smooth-muscle cells of the media oriented at right angles to the blood flow (arrow), and the rete adventitia. × 20,000.

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    Transmission electron micrograph showing a plicated adventitial fibroblast in a mesenteric artery. × 58,000.

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    Transmission electron micrograph demonstrating penetration of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) into the basilar artery from the subarachnoid space (SAS). Upper: Section immediately after HRP injection into the cisterna magna. × 29,000. Center: Ten minutes after injection, HRP surrounds the collagen bundles and penetrates to the media. × 29,000. Lower: After 15 minutes, the HRP has penetrated through the media and elastica up to the endothelial cells bordering the vascular lumen. × 64,000.

References

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