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Zentralbl Neurochir. 2005 Nov;66(4):202-6.

Microscopic stucture of the lamina terminalis: implications for microsurgical third ventriculostomy.

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Department of Neuropathology, Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.



The neurosurgical approach through the lamina terminalis (LT) is a commonly used technique for management of the third ventricle region pathology. Furthermore, LT fenestration is a recommended procedure during surgery of ruptured intracranial aneurysms. Though the LT is a rudimentary structure in adult human brain, its neurosurgical significance is eliciting increasing interest. The aim of the presented study is to characterize the LT histologically, with special attention to the previously recommended area of LT fenestration and to the localization and structure of the organum vasculosum lamina terminalis (OVLT).


The study was performed on tissue sampled from eight formalin-fixed brains. Paraffin sections taken from various levels of the LT were routinely stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and by immunohistochemical methods.


The LT in the inferior part bordering the optic recess and immediately above the optic chiasm exhibited paucicellular, mainly fibrillar, glial tissue with scanty neural elements and small vessels. At about halfway along the length of the LT an area of loose structure, with an increased number of glial cells, small neurons and thin-walled vessels corresponding to the OVLT was observed. In the majority of examined cases the OVLT was poorly developed and was therefore sometimes overlooked. The superior segment of the LT near the anterior commissure disclosed again paucicellular and slightly loosened fine fibrillar tissue.


The results of the present microscopic study confirm the opinion that the inferior segment of the LT is the most convenient place for safe incision. Its thinnest middle part immediately above the optic recess is composed mainly of gliotic tissue. Above, prominent loosened tissue and the rather rudimental structure of the OVLT seem to be additional favorable factors for a safe fenestration of the LT.

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