Ventricles of the brain

Ventricles of the brainVentricular system of the brain. Circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid
~ 4 min

In this note, we are going to discuss the anatomy and function of the ventricles of the brain and the fundamentals of cerebrospinal fluid circulation.

To put it simply, our central nervous system is a long tube filled with cerebrospinal fluid (or CSF). Various structures of the brain and spinal cord are attached to this tube, like clay.

In the spinal cord, this tube is called the central canal and has a more or less smooth shape, the shape of a tube.

Central canal
Central canal
Central canal
Central canal

And in the brain, it significantly extends and forms several communicating cavities, called ventricles.

Ventricles of the brain - lateral projection
Ventricles of the brain - lateral projection
Ventricles of the brain - superior projection
Ventricles of the brain - superior projection

Ventricles

So, almost every division of the brain has its own cavity, its own ventricle.

In the cerebral hemispheres, there are two lateral ventricles, one each in the left and right hemispheres.

Left lateral ventricle
Left lateral ventricle
Right lateral ventricle
Right lateral ventricle
Lateral ventricles
Lateral ventricles

Each lateral ventricle has three horns:

  • anterior (or frontal)
Anterior horn
Anterior horn
Anterior horn
Anterior horn
  • posterior (or occipital)
Posterior horn
Posterior horn
Posterior horn
Posterior horn
  • and inferior (or temporal).
Inferior horn
Inferior horn
Inferior horn
Inferior horn

The next one, the third ventricle, is located in the diencephalon.

Third ventricle
Third ventricle
Third ventricle
Third ventricle

So the lateral ones are the first and second, and in the diencephalon, respectively, the third. In the midbrain is the cerebral aqueduct (or aqueduct of Sylvius).

Cerebral aqueduct
Cerebral aqueduct
Cerebral aqueduct
Cerebral aqueduct
Cerebral aqueduct
Cerebral aqueduct

And the fourth ventricle is located between the pons and medulla oblongata on one side and the cerebellum on the other side.

Fourth ventricle
Fourth ventricle
Fourth ventricle
Fourth ventricle

Cerebrospinal fluid

Now, it is important to understand how exactly cerebrospinal fluid circulates throughout the ventricles because there is a certain pattern of it. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced by the choroid plexuses, which are present in all parts of the ventricular system except for the aqueduct.

Choroid plexuses
Choroid plexuses

From the lateral ventricles, CSF flows into the third ventricle via the interventricular foramen (or foramen of Monro), which is located in each lateral ventricle.

Interventricular foramen
Interventricular foramen

From there, through the cerebral aqueduct, it flows into the fourth ventricle.

From the fourth ventricle, CSF enters the subarachnoid space via the three foramina (or apertures):

Subarachnoid space
Subarachnoid space

two lateral apertures of Luschka and one median aperture of Magendie.

Lateral apertures of Luschka
Lateral apertures of Luschka
Median aperture of Magendie
Median aperture of Magendie

Then, from the subarachnoid space, the cerebrospinal fluid is filtered or drained into the dural venous sinuses by the arachnoid granulations.

Arachnoid granulations
Arachnoid granulations

These are projections of the arachnoid mater through the dura mater and their largest cluster is located in the area of the superior sagittal sinus.

Golosary

Ventricles of the brain

central canal
canalis centralis
lateral ventricles
ventriculi laterales
anterior horn
cornu anterius
posterior horn
cornu posterius
inferior horn
cornu inferius
third ventricle
ventriculus tertius
cerebral aqueduct
aquaeductus cerebri
fourth ventricle
ventriculus quartus
cerebrospinal fluid
liquor cerebrospinalis
interventricular foramen
foramen interventriculare
lateral aperture (Luschka)
apertura lateralis
median aperture (Magendie)
apertura mediana
arachnoid granulations
granulationes arachnoideae
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