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Brain Res Rev. 2007 Nov;56(1):119-47. Epub 2007 Jun 18.

The circumventricular organs: an atlas of comparative anatomy and vascularization.

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Université de Franche-Comté, Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie, 12 Chemin des Relançons, 25000 Besançon, France.


The circumventricular organs are small sized structures lining the cavity of the third ventricle (neurohypophysis, vascular organ of the lamina terminalis, subfornical organ, pineal gland and subcommissural organ) and of the fourth ventricle (area postrema). Their particular location in relation to the ventricular cavities is to be noted: the subfornical organ, the subcommissural organ and the area postrema are situated at the confluence between ventricles while the neurohypophysis, the vascular organ of the lamina terminalis and the pineal gland line ventricular recesses. The main object of this work is to study the specific characteristics of the vascular architecture of these organs: their capillaries have a wall devoid of blood-brain barrier, as opposed to central capillaries. This particular arrangement allows direct exchange between the blood and the nervous tissue of these organs. This work is based on a unique set of histological preparations from 12 species of mammals and 5 species of birds, and is taking the form of an atlas.

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