Intrinsic microvasculature of the sciatic nerve in the rat

Mair Zamir, Jasna Twynstra, Andrew J. Vercnocke, Ian Welch, Steve M. Jorgensen, Erik L. Ritman, David W. Holdsworth, J. Kevin Shoemaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Microvasculature associated with the sciatic nerve was examined using high-resolution micro-CT scanning in one group of rats and surgical exploration in another. The results indicate that blood supply to the sciatic nerve is an "open-ended" system in which the vessels run longitudinally within the epineurium and connect with external vasculature primarily at junction points. Although the range of vasculature found extended down to 4-5 μ, only a few isolated vessels of this size were found, with no capillary "mesh" as such, possibly because of the close proximity of the intrinsic vessel to nerve fibers within the epineurium. While the study did not include direct measurements of flow or nerve function, the "open-ended" pattern of vasculature found has important implications regarding the relationship between the two. Specifically, the nerve is less vulnerable to a severe or complete disruption in blood supply than it would be under a close-ended system such as that of the heart or brain, where a severe disruption can occur with the obstruction of only a single vessel. Indeed, the pattern of vasculature found, subject to further study of vasculature at the capillary level, suggests that flow within the intrinsic vessels may be in either direction, depending on circumstances, somewhat like flow within the circle of Willis in the cerebral circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-384
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Peripheral Nervous System
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • microvasculature
  • neuropathology
  • neurophysiology
  • peripheral nervous system
  • sciatic nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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