Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Brain Drains

Understanding the structure and mechanics of brain blood supply – insight for treating brain injury

24 February 2021

Brain Drains

Your brain makes up just 2% of your body but needs 20% of the oxygen you breathe in — it gets that via its blood supply. Almost all of the brain’s blood drains out through channels called dural venous sinuses into jugular veins that run through your neck. If these are damaged, such as through traumatic brain injury, it’s potentially life-threatening. But a thorough understanding of the mechanical and structural properties of these sinuses is lacking. Researchers now investigate this using pigs. Through histology [tissue anatomy], they uncovered that the matrix which the sinus cells sit in is overwhelmingly made of collagen, which explains why the sinuses are so stiff. Scanning electron microscopy of the sinuses revealed collagen was aligned differently through the various layers and regions of the sinuses (pictured). These insights begin to give us a better understanding of dural venous sinuses, which may be important in understanding brain injury.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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