The vascularization of the cerebrum (cerebral cortex and basal ganglia) in the common tree shrew (Tupaia glis) has been studied in detail using vinyl injection and vascular corrosion cast/SEM techniques. It is found that the arterial supply of the cerebral cortex are from cortical branches of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and of the anterior cerebral artery (ACA). These arteries are in turn branches of the internal carotid artery (ICA). In addition, the cerebral cortex receives the blood from the cortical branches of the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) that originates from the basilar artery (BA). These cortical arteries gives rise to rectilinear orientated intracortical arteries that are divided into dense capillary networks to supply the cerebral cortex. The capillary networks drain the blood into intracortical veins and then into the tributaries of major superficial cerebral veins. The basal ganglia (caudate and lentiform nuclei) are supplied by central or perforating branches of the ACA and MCA. These central or medullary arteries give rise to arterioles that ramify into dense capillary plexuses. The venous blood from both nuclei drains into venules and finally into the tributaries of internal cerebral veins. It is obvious that on the ventral aspect, the diameter of the lateral striate artery (LSA) and of the penetrating arterioles from the MCA are much smaller than that of the MCA. These arterioles have few side branches while the peripheral branches of the superficial cerebral arteries exhibit several series of branches that are gradually reduced in diameter before branching into intracortical arteries. This could be one of the reasons why the rupture of cerebral arteries in man mostly occurs in the those originating from the ventral surface rather than from the dorsolateral surface.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.