A light and electron microscopic and immunohistochemical study of human arachnoid villi

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✓ The structure of human arachnoid villi was investigated by light and electron microscopy with the aid of immunohistochemical techniques. The human arachnoid villi examined were basically composed of four portions: a fibrous capsule, an arachnoid cell layer, a cap cell cluster, and a central core. The arachnoid cell layer encompassing the central core was mostly covered by the thin fibrous capsule with an endothelial investment. However, the fibrous capsule was often absent at the apical portion of the villus and a factor VIII-related antigen stain failed to confirm the investment of endothelial cells. Instead, the arachnoid cell layer abutted directly upon the lumen of a lateral lacuna or the sinus. The arachnoid cell layer was thickened in places, forming cap cell clusters; it usually consisted of outer and inner zones. On vimentin staining, the former was slightly positive while the latter was strongly positive. The central core contained a network of arachnoid cells intermingled with connective tissue fibers and was in continuity with the cranial subarachnoid space. Electron microscopy showed that the arachnoid cells contained a larger number of intermediate filaments in the inner zone than the outer zone. Ultrastructural immunohistochemical localization showed that vimentin was localized at the intermediate filaments and desmosomal plaques of the arachnoid cells. The arachnoid cells showed a marked variety in both the cell forms and the number of intermediate filaments or desmosomes, depending on their location.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Tetsumori Yamashima, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, University of Kanazawa School of Medicine, Takaramachi 13-1, Kanazawa 920, Japan.

Address for Dr. Kubota: Department of Neurosurgery, Fukui Medical School, Fukui, Japan.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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Figures

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    Schematic drawing of a human arachnoid villus as revealed in the present study.

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    Photomicrograph showing that the arachnoid cell layer (A) encompassing the central core (CC) is covered by a fibrous capsule (F). This layer is thickened to form a cap cell cluster (C). Elastica van Gieson, × 320.

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    Immunohistochemical staining for factor VIII-related antigen. Although the fibrous capsule has an endothelial investment (A, arrow) similar to the venous wall (A, arrowhead), the apical portion of an arachnoid villus (B, asterisk) has no factor VIII-positive endothelial cells. Peroxidase-antiperoxidase counterstained with hematoxylin, × 200.

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    Electron micrograph showing the fibrous capsule composed of three layers: the endothelial investment (E), tiers of fibrocytes (F) intermingled with connective tissue fibers, and the electron-dense cell layer (asterisk). × 4400.

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    The electron-dense cells (D) contain numerous cytoplasmic filaments and well-developed rough endoplasmic reticulum. These cells are connected to each other and to the outermost tier of the arachnoid cell layer (A) by a small number of desmosomes. × 17,500.

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    Photomicrograph at the apical portion of an arachnoid villus (arrow). The arachnoid cell layer abuts directly upon the lumen (L) of a lateral lacuna. Elastica van Gieson, × 160.

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    Electron micrograph showing the arachnoid cell layer at the apical portion. The arachnoid cell layer consists of an electron-lucent outer zone (O) and an electron-dense inner zone (I). × 5700.

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    Electron micrograph of a specimen with subarachnoid hemorrhage. The extracellular cisterns of the arachnoid cell layer are packed with red blood cells extending from the cranial subarachnoid space. × 2900.

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    Electron micrograph showing arachnoid cells in the cap cell cluster. They are characterized by numerous interdigitations, desmosomes, intermediate filaments, and subplasmalemmal linear densities (arrow). × 14,600.

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    Electron micrograph of the central core showing scattered arachnoid cells with many elongated processes interdigitated with each other, × 3000.

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    Immunohistochemical staining for vimentin. The outer zone of the arachnoid cell layer is slightly positive, while the inner zone and core arachnoid cells are strongly positive. Avidin-biotin peroxidase complex counterstained with hematoxylin, × 240.

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    Immunoelectron microscopic localization of vimentin. Gold particles are localized at the intermediate filaments and desmosomal plaques of the arachnoid cells. Post-embedding protein-A gold method using 5-nm particles, × 42,000.

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