Highest resolution microCT scan of the human brainstem reveals putative anatomical basis for infrequency of medial medullary syndrome

Kaylea M. Feldman, Yasmin A. O'Keefe, Paul M. Gignac, Haley D. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ischemic strokes affecting the medial medulla are exceedingly rare. The anatomical basis for the relative infrequency of this stroke syndrome has been largely uninvestigated due to historically coarse MRI and CT scan resolution. We capture and digitally dissect the highest-ever-resolution diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced CT (diceCT) scanned images of a cadaveric brainstem to map arterial territories implicated in medial medullary infarctions. 3D reconstructions show that within the anterior spinal artery territory previously implicated in medial medullary syndrome (MMS), there are numerous, small sulcal artery branches perforating the medulla within the anterior median fissure. These branches proceed in parallel through the anteroposterior depth of the medulla as expected; however, we also identify a network of intraparenchymal, rostrocaudal anastomoses between these sulcal perforating branches. This network of intraparenchymal sulcal artery anastomoses has never been described and may provide a significant collateral supply of oxygenated blood flow throughout the medial medulla. By ramifying deeper tissues, these anastomoses can help explain the infrequency of MMS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103272
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Volume36
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Anterior spinal artery
  • Déjerine Syndrome
  • High-resolution imaging
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Medial medullary syndrome
  • MicroCT scanning
  • diceCT

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