The interperiosteo-dural concept applied to the perisellar compartment: a microanatomical and electron microscopic study

Laboratory investigation

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  • 1 Laboratoire d'anatomie and
  • 4 Département de Microscopie Electronique, Université François Rabelais de Tours;
  • 2 Service de Neurochirurgie et
  • 3 d'Oto-Rhino-Laryngologie, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Tours, France
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Object

The dura mater has 2 dural layers: the endosteal layer (outer layer), which is firmly attached to the bone, and the meningeal layer (inner layer), which directly covers the brain. These 2 dural layers join together in the middle temporal fossa or the convexity and separate into the orbital, lateral sellar compartment (LSC), or spinal epidural space to form the extradural neural axis compartment (EDNAC). The aim of this work was to anatomically verify the concept of the EDNAC by using electron microscopy.

Methods

The authors studied the cadaveric heads obtained from 13 adults. Ten of the specimens (or 20 perisellar areas) were injected with colored latex and fixed in formalin. They carefully removed each brain to allow a superior approach to the perisellar area. The 3 other specimens were studied by microscopic and ultrastructural methods to describe the EDNAC in the perisellar area. Special attention was paid to the dural layers surrounding the perisellar area. The authors studied the anatomy of the meningeal architecture of the LSC, the petroclival venous confluence, the orbit, and the trigeminal cave. After dissection, the authors took photographs of the dural layers with the aid of optical magnification. The 3 remaining heads, obtained from fresh cadavers, were prepared for electron microscopic study.

Results

The EDNAC is limited by the endosteal layer and the meningeal layer and contains fat and/or venous blood. The endosteal layer and meningeal layer were not identical on electron microscopy; this finding can be readily related to the histology of the meninges.

Conclusions

In this study, the authors demonstrated the existence of the EDNAC concept in the perisellar area by using dissected cadaveric heads and verified the reality of the concept of the meningeal layer with electron microscopy. These findings clearly demonstrated the existence of the EDNAC, a notion that has generally been accepted but never demonstrated microscopically.

Abbreviations used in this paper: CN = cranial nerve; EDNAC = extradural neural axis compartment; EL = endosteal layer; LSC = lateral sellar compartment; ML = meningeal layer.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Stéphane Velut, M.D., Ph.D. email: velut@med.univ-tours.fr.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online February 12, 2010; DOI: 10.3171/2010.1.JNS081701.

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