Nerve fibres and their terminals of the dura mater encephali of the rat

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1987;175(3):289-301. doi: 10.1007/BF00309843.


The dura mater encephali of the rat is richly supplied by myelinated (A-axons) and unmyelinated (C-axons) nerve fibres. For the supratentorial part the main nerve supply stems from all three branches of the trigeminal nerve. Finally, 250 myelinated and 800 unmyelinated nerve fibres innervate one side of the supratentorial part. The vascular bed of the dura mater exhibits long postcapillary venules up to 200 micron in length with segments of endothelial fenestration. Lymphatic vessels occur within the dura mater. They leave the cranial cavity through the openings of the cribriform plate, rostral to the bulla tympani together with the transverse sinus, and the middle meningeal artery. The perineural sheath builds up a tube-like net containing the A- and C-axons. It is spacious in the parietal dura mater and dense at the sagittal sinus along its extension from rostral to caudal and at the confluence of sinuses. Terminals of both the A- and C-axons are of the unencapsulated type. Unencapsulated Ruffini-like receptors stemming from A-axons are found in the dural connective tissue at sites where superficial cerebral veins enter the sagittal sinus and at the confluence of sinuses. The terminations of single A-axons together with C-fibre bundles mix up in their final course in one Schwann cell to build up multiaxonal units or terminations (up to 15 axonal profiles). A morphological differentiation is made due to the topography of these terminations; firstly, in different segments of the vascular bed: postcapillary venule, venule, the sinus wall, lymphatic vessel wall, and secondly, within the dura mater: inner periosteal layer, collagenous fibre bundles of the meningeal layer and at the mesothelial cell layer of the subdural space.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Blood Vessels / ultrastructure
  • Brain
  • Connective Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Dura Mater / anatomy & histology*
  • Dura Mater / blood supply
  • Dura Mater / ultrastructure
  • Lymphatic System / innervation
  • Nerve Endings / ultrastructure*
  • Nerve Fibers / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Venules / innervation