Since there is only a limited number of studies of the blood supply to the trigeminal ganglion (TG) in mammalian species, the TG from 16 common tree shrews (Tupαiα glis) were investigated by light microscope, transmission electron microscope (TEM) and the corrosion cast technique in conjunction with scanning electron microscope (SEM). It was found that the TG contained clusters of neurons in the peripheral region whereas the bundles of nerve fibers were located more centrally. Each ganglionic neuron had a concentric nucleus and was en-sheathed by satellite cells. It was noted that blood vessels of a continuous type were predominantly found in the area where the neurons were densely located and were much less frequently observed in the area occupied by nerve fibers. With TEM, the TG was shown to be mainly associated with large neurons containing big nuclei and prominent nucleoli. The blood supply of the TG is derived from the most rostral branch of the pontine artery, from the stapedial artery or sometimes from the supraorbital artery, and from the accessory meningeal artery which is a branch of the maxillary artery passing through the foramen ovale. These arteries give off branches and become capillary networks in the ganglion before draining blood to the peripheral region. The veins at the medial border drained into the cavernous sinus directly or through the inferior hypophyseal vein, while those at the lateral side of the ganglion carried the blood into the pterygoid plexus via an accessory meningeal vein. The veins along the trigeminal nerve root joined the posterior part of the cavernous sinus. These studies establish a unique anatomical distribution of the TG blood supply in the tree shrew and the utility of the cast/SEM technique in discerning detailed features of the blood supply in the nervous system.

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