Clin Anat. 2012 Jul ; 25(5):609-18 21976364
The vertebral venous plexuses: The internal veins are muscular and external veins have valves.
Mark D Stringer, Matthew Restieaux, Amanda L Fisher, Brynley Crosado
Department of Anatomy, Otago School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
The internal and external vertebral venous plexuses (VVP) extend the length of the vertebral column. Authoritative sources state that these veins are devoid of valves, permitting bidirectional blood flow and facilitating the hematogenous spread of malignant tumors that have venous connections with these plexuses. The aim of this investigation was to identify morphologic features that might influence blood flow in the VVP. The VVP of 12 adult cadavers (seven female, mean age 79.5 years) were examined by macro- and micro-dissection and representative veins removed for histology and immunohistochemistry (smooth muscle antibody staining). A total of 26, mostly bicuspid, valves were identified in 19 of 56 veins (34%) from the external VVP, all orientated to promote blood flow towards the internal VVP. The internal VVP was characterized by four main longitudinal channels with transverse interconnections; the maximum caliber of the longitudinal anterior internal VVP veins was significantly greater than their posterior counterparts (P < 0.001). The luminal architecture of the internal VVP veins was striking, consisting of numerous bridging trabeculae (cords, thin membranes and thick bridges) predominantly within the longitudinal venous channels. Trabeculae were composed of collagen and smooth muscle and also contained numerous small arteries and nerve fibers. A similar internal venous trabecular meshwork is known to exist within the dural venous sinuses of the skull. It may serve to prevent venous overdistension or collapse, to regulate the direction and velocity of venous blood flow, or is possibly involved in thermoregulation or other homeostatic processes. Clin. Anat. 25:609-618, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
If our IJVs are blocked, many of us rely greatly on our vertebral vein plexuses. Here is more information about the vertebral veins. It's interesting to read about the trabeculae and wonder how the strands and membranes impact upon blood flow. Trabeculae are partially composed of collagen and people with MS have abnormal collagen in their IJVs; do we also have abnormal collagen in our VVs and our trabeculae?