The collagenic architecture of human dura mater

J Neurosurg. 2011 Jun;114(6):1723-30. doi: 10.3171/2010.12.JNS101732. Epub 2011 Feb 4.


Object: Human dura mater is the most external meningeal sheet surrounding the CNS. It provides an efficient protection to intracranial structures and represents the most important site for CSF turnover. Its intrinsic architecture is made up of fibrous tissue including collagenic and elastic fibers that guarantee the maintenance of its biophysical features. The recent technical advances in the repair of dural defects have allowed for the creation of many synthetic and biological grafts. However, no detailed studies on the 3D microscopic disposition of collagenic fibers in dura mater are available. The authors report on the collagenic 3D architecture of normal dura mater highlighting the orientation, disposition in 3 dimensions, and shape of the collagen fibers with respect to the observed layer.

Methods: Thirty-two dura mater specimens were collected during cranial decompressive surgical procedures, fixed in 2.5% Karnovsky solution, and digested in 1 N NaOH solution. After a routine procedure, the specimens were observed using a scanning electron microscope.

Results: The authors distinguished the following 5 layers in the fibrous dura mater of varying thicknesses, orientation, and structures: bone surface, external median, vascular, internal median, and arachnoid layers.

Conclusions: The description of the ultrastructural 3D organization of the different layers of dura mater will give us more information for the creation of synthetic grafts that are as similar as possible to normal dura mater. This description will be also related to the study of the neoplastic invasion.

MeSH terms

  • Collagen / ultrastructure*
  • Dura Mater / surgery
  • Dura Mater / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning


  • Collagen