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The Nervous System

SMS 1084
Dr. Mohanad R. Alwan

Protection & Nutrition of CNS


• Bone
– Cranial bones & vertebral arches
• Meninges
– Dura mater
– Arachnoid mater
– Pia mater
• Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Meninges = membranes covering the brain
and spinal cord
They are
1. Duramater
2. Arachnoid mater
3. Pia mater

• Dura mater
• Arachnoid mater
• Pia mater

 Two layers of dense fibrous tissue
 In the skull outer layer takes the place of periosteum
on the inner surface of the skull
 Inner layer covers the brain
 Forms a partition between the two cerebral
hemispheres called the falx cerebri
 Between the cerebellar hemispheres – falx cerebelli
 Between the cerebrum and cerebellum – tentorium

Spinal Dura mater
• Foms a loose sheath around the spinal cord
• Extends from the foramen magnum to the S2 vertebra
• Then it invests the filum terminale
• Fuses with the periosteum of the coccyx
• It is an extension of the cerebral dura
• It is separated from the periosteum of the vertebrae
and ligaments within the neural canal by the epidural
• Applied anatomy : epidural space – epidural
• Subarachnoid space of the spinal canal – spinal
Arachnoid mater

• Middle layer of the three membranes covering the

brain and spinal cord
• Separated from the dura mater by the subdural space
and from the pia mater by the subarachnoid space
• Subarachnoid space contains the cerebrospinal fluid
• Covers the spinal cord also and ends by merging with
the dura mater at the level of S2

Pia mater
• Inner most layer of the meninges
• Fine connective tissue
• Contains minute blood vessels
• Closely invests the brain
• Completely covers the convolutions
• Dips into fissures
• Invests the spinal cord
• Beyond the end of the spinal cord continues as the
filum terminale
• Pierces arachnoid mater and with dura mater fuses
with periosteum of the coccyx
Meninges - Arachnoid and Pia

Cerebrospinal Fluid
• Similar to blood plasma
• Formed by the choroid
• Forms a watery
cushion to protect the
• Circulated in arachnoid
space, ventricles, and
central canal of the
spinal cord

Slide 7.46
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
• Production: floor of the lateral ventricle
and third ventricle, by choroid plexus.

• Circulation: L.V. -> III.V. -> IV.V. -> exit

ventricular system into various basal
cisterns and then to subarachroid space

• Circulates in through ventricles, canals, &

between meninges
• Drain back to blood via arachnoid
granulation to superior sagittal sinus, or via
spinal nerve roots, or via olfactory tracts

From Johanson CE
CSF volume in human
• Total: 164.5 ± 47.8 ml
• Ventricles: 31.9 ± 17.8 ml
• IIIrd ventricle: 0.95 ± 0.62 ml
• Extraventricular: 132.6 ± 43.2 ml

• Total cranium: 1051.7 ± 86.9 ml

Function of CSF

• Maintenance of a constant external

environment for neurons and glia
• Mechanical cushion to protect the brain
and buoyant to the heavy brain (1400 g)
• Serve as a lymphatic system and a conduit
for neuropeptides
• pH of CSF regulates pulmonary ventilation
and CBF
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
• Supports (buoys) mass
• Cushions CNS - like
• Nourishes brain tissue
• Contains proper
electrolytes for CNS

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

• Filtered from blood

plasma in choroid
• Circulates in through
ventricles, canals, &
between meninges
• Returned to blood at
superior sagittal sinus

Circulation of cerebrospinal fluid

CSF drains from lateral ventricle interventricular foramina third ventricle

mesencephalic aqueduct median and two lateral apertures

fourth ventricle

subarachnoid space arachnoid granulations superior sagittal sinus vein

Ventricular System

• Within the brain is a communicating system of

cavities that are lined with ependyma cells and filled
with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
• There are:
– two lateral ventricles,
– the third ventricle,
– the cerebral aqueduct,
– and the fourth ventricle within the brain stem.
Ventricles of the Brain
• 2 Lateral ventricles (1, 2) in cerebral hemispheres
• Third ventricle (3) between hemispheres
• Fourth ventricle (4) in midbrain and medulla

Ventricles and Location of the Cerebrospinal

Figure 7.17a

What is the Blood Brain Barrier?
• Structural and functional barrier which
impedes and regulates the influx of
most compounds from blood to brain.

• Formed by brain microvascular

endothelial cells (BMEC), astrocyte end
feet and pericytes
• Essential for normal function of CNS.

• Regulates passage of molecules in and

out of brain to maintain neural
• Responsible for metabolic activities
such as the metabolism of L-dopa to
regulate its concentration in the brain.
Blood-brain barrier
• CNS is sensitive to chemicals
• Capillaries have thicker, non-leaky walls.
• Protects brain from drugs, metabolites, toxins

Functions and Properties of the BBB

• The BBB has several important functions:

1. Protects the brain from "foreign substances" in the blood that may injure the brain.
2. Protects the brain from hormones and neurotransmitters in the rest of the body.
3. Maintains a constant environment for the brain.
Functions and Properties of the BBB

• General Properties of the BBB

1. Large molecules do not pass through the BBB easily.
2. Low lipid (fat) soluble molecules do not penetrate into the brain.
However, lipid soluble molecules rapidly cross the BBB into the
3. Molecules that have a high electrical charge to them are slowed.
• Therefore:
– The BBB is selectively permeable to :Oxygen, Carbon dioxide and
– The BBB is not permeable to
hydrogen ions
Structure of Blood Brain Barrier
Transport of substances across the BBB

• Ions
• Amino Acids and organic acids
• Glucose and other carbohydrates
• Biogenic amines
• Nucleotide precursors
• Peptides, proteins and lipoproteins
• Steroid and thyroid hormones
• Vitamins, trace metals
• Chemotherapy agents, antibiotics
Transport at the BBB

 There are five basic mechanisms by which solute

molecules move across membranes:
1. simple diffusion
2. facilitated diffusion
3. simple diffusion through an aqueous channel
4. active transport through a protein carrier
5. Endocytosis
Blood supply & Nutrition

• Brain is highly vascular

– blood delivers O2 and glucose supply
• Can't be deprived of O2. No capacity for
anaerobic respiration.
– Brain cells die w/in 5-6 minutes when deprived
• Requires glucose (or ketone bodies) as fuel
– Can't use fats, amino acids.