The arterial anatomy of the adult human lumbar vertebral body: a microarteriographic study

J Anat. 1980 Aug;131(Pt 1):57-79.


The anatomy of the arteries of 93 adult human lumbar vertebral bodies was studied microarteriographically. There is a network of periosteal arteries joining the arteries of adjacent vertebrae on the anterolateral and posterior surfaces. These are prominent between the fourth and fifth lumbar arteries. There are three types of intra-osseous arteries: equatorial, metaphyseal and peripheral. Each supplies a separate zone. The peripheral arteries are short, branch early and have centripetally directed terminal branches; they supply the outer collar of the vertebral body. The equatorial and metaphyseal arteries are morphologically similar, having straight unbranching stems, pre-terminal coils and centrifugal terminal branches. The equatorial arteries supply the central core of the vertebral body subjacent to the nucleus pulposus, and the metaphyseal arteries supply an annular zone between the other two types. Some circumstantial evidence that discal degenerative disease is associated with discal, or vertebral body, anoxia is presented. The present study adds to this evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiography
  • Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Microradiography
  • Middle Aged