Quantification of the collagen fibre architecture of human cranial dura mater

Maria C. Jimenez Hamann, Michael S. Sacks, Theodore I. Malinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to quantify and map the gross fibre architecture of the cranial dura mater (CDM) using small angle light scattering (SALS). In SALS, HeNe laser light is passed through the tissue, and the resultant scattering pattern is analysed to determine the preferred fibre direction and degree of orientation. The dura mater was found to be a complex structure with fibre orientations ranging from highly aligned to nearly random. In the temporal region, 80% of the samples (n = 20) were found to have regions composed of highly oriented fibres with a mean fibre direction of 6.3°± 0.8°with respect to the sagittal plane (i.e. almost parallel to the superior sagittal sinus). These highly aligned regions were found in symmetric anatomical locations about the median sagittal sinus and had similar fibre orientations over both hemispheres. Although our sample size was small, we found that the size of the symmetric regions, which covered 14.4 ± 1.6% of the total CDM area, was not influenced by subject's age or sex. The presence of these highly oriented fibre regions in CDM may be due to mechanical forces exerted on dura mater during its development. These forces may have induced realignment of the collagen fibres in the direction of tensile pull, although the exact basis for the unique gross fibre architecture of CDM remains unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Collagen fibre orientation
  • Cranial sutures
  • Small angle light scattering
  • Structural anisotropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anatomy


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