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Albert van der Zwan, Berend Hillen, Cornelis A. F. Tulleken, Manuel Dujovny, and Ljubisa Dragovic

✓ Recent morphological and functional studies on the circle of Willis suggest that the areas of supply of the six major cerebral arteries show a considerable variation in distribution, in contrast to the relatively consistent pattern generally accepted; therefore, the cortical and intracerebral distribution of the territories of these arteries was investigated in 25 unfixed human brains obtained at routine autopsy. The six major cerebral arteries were simultaneously injected under the same pressure with different-colored Araldite F mixtures under standardized conditions to obtain the most realistic territorial distribution. The cortical boundaries were examined and recorded in relation to the cerebral gyri and sulci, and the territories of the anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries were analyzed and compared. The intracerebral distribution of these territories was investigated after the injected brains were cut in parallel slices. The variability of the territories of these arteries was much larger than generally described in the literature. Twenty-six variations in the territory of the anterior cerebral artery, 17 variations in the area of the middle cerebral artery, and 22 variations in the area of the posterior cerebral artery were found in the cortex of 50 hemispheres. Intracerebrally. the anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries contributed in varying degrees to the blood supply of the lobar white matter, the internal capsule, the caudate nucleus, and the lentiform nucleus. The large variation in the area in which the cortical and intracerebral boundaries between these territories was located was demonstrated by illustrating the minimum and maximum extent of each. The results are compared with prior findings, and their implications for both experimental model studies and clinical practice are discussed.

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Asim Mahmood, Manuel Dujovny, Maximo Torche, Ljubisa Dragovic, and James I. Ausman

✓ The foramen caecum (FC) is a triangular-shaped fossa situated in the midline on the base of the brain stem, at the pontomedullary junction. Although this area is known to have a very high concentration of brainstem perforating vessels, its microvascular anatomy has not been studied in detail. The purpose of this study was to detail the microvasculature of this territory. Twenty unfixed brains were injected with silicone rubber solution and dissected under a microscope equipped with a camera. The origin, course, outer diameter, and branching pattern of the perforators were examined.

The total number of perforators found in the 20 brains was 287, with an average (± standard deviation) of 14.35 ± 1.24 perforators per brain (range seven to 28). Their origin was as follows: right vertebral artery in 52 perforators (18.11%); left vertebral artery in 35 (12.19%); basilar artery below the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) in 139 (48.43%); basilar artery above the AICA in 46 (16.02%); AICA in 10 (3.48%); and anterior spinal artery in five (1.74%). Most of the perforators arose as sub-branches of larger trunks; their average outer diameter was 0.16 ± 0.006 mm while that of trunks was 0.35 ± 0.02 mm.

These anatomical data are important for those wishing 1) to study the pathophysiology of vascular insults to this area caused by atheromas, thrombi, and emboli; 2) to plan vertebrobasilar aneurysm surgery; 3) to plan surgery for vertebrobasilar insufficiency; and 4) to study foramen magnum neoplasms.