Observations of vascularization in the spinal cord of mouse embryos, with special reference to development of boundary membranes and perivascular spaces

Anat Rec. 1988 Jun;221(2):663-77. doi: 10.1002/ar.1092210212.


The early stages of vascularizations of the spinal cord of the mouse were studied by graphic reconstruction techniques and electron microscopy. Vascular sprouts arise from the perineural vascular plexus (PNVP) to invade the cord of 10-day embryos. These enter the cord most frequently via the lateral surface between the dorsal root and the ventral root; less frequently, they enter via the ventral and/or dorsal surfaces and anastomose with sprouts that have entered via the lateral surface. During the development of intramedullary blood vessels there are essential changes both in the basal laminae covering the neural parenchyma of the cord and in the relationship between the neural tissue and vascular walls. The basal laminae of the developing spinal cord were classified into three categories. The first is the perineural, external, or primary neural, basal lamina (PNBL), which is the earliest of the three in formation and covers the entire external surface of the cord. The second one is the internal, or secondary neural, basal lamina (INBL), which invests the internal surface of the neural tissue facing the walls of invading blood vessels. The third type is the perivascular basal lamina (PVBL), which surrounds the vascular wall. Blood vessels enter the spinal cord by penetrating the PNBL. Since the PVBL and INBL are absent or incomplete in early stages of vascularization, the neural tissue is in direct contact with intramedullary blood vessels. However, following their development, boundary membranes are formed, separating the neural tissue from neighboring vessels, a situation characteristic of capillaries in the mature CNS. Perivascular spaces are seen along the course of developing vessels and secondarily become continuous with the extramedullary connective tissue space. They are neither artifact nor intramedullary extensions of extramedullary connective tissue space along invading sprouts. The boundary membranes are formed by connection of membrane plaques or by fusion of the INBL and PVBL.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal Cord / blood supply
  • Spinal Cord / embryology*
  • Spinal Cord / ultrastructure