The cerebral venous regulation involved in various physiological and pathological processes has received little attention. Here the authors describe the anatomy of the junction between the cortical vein and the superior sagittal sinus (SSS) and propose a new theory of cerebral venous regulation.
Ten adult human cadaveric heads (20 sides), including five specimens into which stained latex had been injected, were used for anatomical study. Formalin-fixed cadaver heads were dissected to demonstrate the cortical veins along the SSS. The characteristics of the cortical bridging veins and their openings into the SSS were established by anatomical, histological, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural study of the junction.
After their subarachnoid course, the cortical bridging veins penetrated the SSS at different points in the dura mater depending on their rostrocaudal position. The venous endothelium stretched beyond the sinus endothelium. The orientation of the collagen fibers changed at the level of the venous openings, with the luminal diameter becoming narrow and oval-shaped. The major finding was the organization of the smooth-muscle cells at the end of each cortical vein. At this site and particularly in the frontoparietal region, the vessel resembled a myoendothelial “sphincter.” The authors hypothesize that this organization is involved in cerebral venous system regulation.
The point of convergence between the cortical veins and the SSS is a key area. The authors also hypothesize that the myoendothelial junction acts as a smooth sphincter and that it plays a role in cerebral venous hemodynamics and pathological conditions.