Nerve fibers innervating the cranial and spinal meninges: morphology of nerve fiber terminals and their structural integration

Microsc Res Tech. 2001 Apr 15;53(2):96-105. doi: 10.1002/jemt.1074.


Pachymeninx and leptomeninx of cranial cavity and spine are considerably different in their collagenous fiber texture, cellular composition, vascularization, and innervation. The majority of meningeal nerve fibers terminate as free nerve endings whereas encapsulated and lamellated nerve terminals additionally occur in higher vertebrates including man. With respect to nerve fiber classification, arborization pattern, topography, and organization of the microenvironment at the termination site afferent and efferent nerve terminals are differentiated. Only the dura mater and the pial subcompartment of the leptomeninx possess the morphological prerequisites for neurogenic inflammation. In the current review, the results of morphological studies regarding the meningeal innervation including the sites of CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) production and absorption are discussed with emphasis on their structure-function relationships.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arachnoid / ultrastructure
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / metabolism
  • Dura Mater / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Meninges / anatomy & histology
  • Meninges / metabolism
  • Meninges / ultrastructure*
  • Nerve Endings / ultrastructure*
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure*
  • Pia Mater / ultrastructure
  • Skull / anatomy & histology
  • Skull / innervation*
  • Skull / ultrastructure
  • Spine / anatomy & histology
  • Spine / innervation*
  • Spine / ultrastructure