Difference between Brain and Spinal Cord Meninges

Brain Meninges

Meninges are protective covering enveloping the spinal cord and brain. The meninges of the brain include the arachnoid membrane, the pia mater and the dura mater. The dura mater is the thick outermost layer that is close to the skull. The middle layer or the arachnoid membrane acts as a cushion for the central nervous system. It is a thin and transparent membrane that is composed of fibrous tissue. The Pia mater is a delicate covering similar to the brain meninges. It is supplied with blood vessels that nourish the brain.

Spinal Cord Meninges

The spinal cord and brain together compose the central nervous system. The spinal cord is also protected by the meninges. This protective membrane usually surrounds the canal. The outermost dura mater is the thick protective coating. Also, there is an epidural space between the dura mater and the surrounding vertebral bone. This space is composed of blood vessels and adipose tissue.

The middle layer is the arachnoid, and the innermost one is the pia mater. The subarachnoid is the space between the arachnoid and pia mater. This space is filled with CSF (cerebrospinal fluid).

Difference between Brain and Spinal Cord Meninges

Brain Meninges

Spinal Cord Meninges

It is a protective membrane that covers the brain.

It is a protective membrane that covers the spine.

The dura mater of the brain has two layers, namely the periosteal and the meningeal layer.

The spinal dura mater has only one layer called the meningeal layer.

The space between the periosteal and the meningeal layer is the epidural space. This space has no adipose tissue or nerve roots.

The dura mater of the spine is separated by a space known as the epidural space that contains nerve roots, intraspinal veins and adipose tissue.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Brain and Spinal Cord Meninges

What is cerebrospinal fluid?

It is a clear body fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain of all vertebrates. The fluid acts as a buffer providing immunological and mechanical support. It circulates within the cerebral ventricles of the brain. Usually, the CSF is tested to diagnose the infection in the meninges, and also the intracranial pressure.

What is an epidural space?

The space between the dura mater and the spine is called an epidural space. This space contains the nerve roots, connective tissue, lymphatics, adipose tissue, arteries, intraspinal veins and sinuses. These are seen only in the spinal epidural space and not the cranial epidural space.

What are leptomeninges?

The arachnoid membrane and the pia mater are sometimes referred together as leptomeninges. They both are thin membranous structures that are connected by cob-web strands arising from the arachnoid.

Also Read: Central Nervous System

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