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      Features of the cerebral vascular pattern that predict vulnerability to perfusion or oxygenation deficiency: an anatomic study.

      AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology

      Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alkaline Phosphatase, metabolism, Arterioles, analysis, Brain, blood supply, Cerebral Arteries, anatomy & histology, Cerebrovascular Circulation, physiology, Female, Histocytochemistry, Humans, Hypoxia, Brain, enzymology, pathology, physiopathology, Male, Middle Aged, Microcirculation

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          In an ongoing study of brain microvasculature in humans at autopsy, we had the opportunity to analyze the overall scheme of this vascular supply. The native endothelial membrane enzyme, alkaline phosphatase, is used to precipitate black lead sulfide salt in the vessel wall, rendering the brain microvasculature visible by both light microscopy and microradiography. There are six distinct patterns of intraparenchymal afferent blood supply to the supratentorial brain: short arterioles from a single source (e.g., those in the cortex); short- to intermediate-length arterioles, single source (anterior two-thirds of the corpus callosum); short- to intermediate length arterioles and arteries, dual source (subcortical U fibers); intermediate-length arterioles and arteries, triple source (extreme/external capsule and claustrum); long arteries and arterioles, single source (centrum semiovale); and large, long muscular arteries, single source (thalamus and basal ganglia). The nature of this arrangement offers some protection to certain regions of the cerebrum from circulatory challenges such as hypotension, while leaving other areas vulnerable. The distal arterioles supplying two of these protected regions, the U-fiber area and the extreme/external capsule and claustrum area, also exhibit the feature of interdigitation, which can offer additional collateral potential from one arteriolar territory to the next. Aging, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and atherosclerosis can have a significant impact on brain microcirculation. The way in which vascular patterns dictate the distribution of these effects is discussed. The ability to stain the cerebral microvessels and demonstrate the finer points of their patterns in sections and microradiographs has enabled us to resolve some long-standing questions about vascular connections and directions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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