Physiology of cerebral venous blood flow: from experimental data in animals to normal function in humans

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2004 Nov;46(3):243-60. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2004.04.005.


In contrast to the cerebroarterial system, the cerebrovenous system is not well examined and only partly understood. The cerebrovenous system represents a complex three-dimensional structure that is often asymmetric and considerably represent more variable pattern than the arterial anatomy. Particular emphasis is devoted to the venous return to extracranial drainage routes. As the state-of-the-art-imaging methods are playing a greater role in visualizing the intracranial venous system at present, its clinically pertinent anatomy and physiology has gain increasing interest, even so only few data are available. For this reason, experimental research on specific biophysical (fluid dynamic, rheologic factors) and hemodynamic (venous pressure, cerebral venous blood flow) parameters of the cerebral venous system is more on the focus; especially as these parameters are different to the cerebral arterial system. Particular emphasis is devoted to the venous return to extracranial drainage routes. From the present point of view, it seems that the cerebrovenous system may be one of the most important factors that guarantee normal brain function. In the light of this increasing interest in the cerebral venous system, the authors have summarized the current knowledge of the physiology of the cerebrovenous system and discuss it is in the light of its clinical relevance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cerebral Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Veins / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Jugular Veins / physiology
  • Models, Animal