Hindbrain neurovascular anatomy of adult goldfish (Carassius auratus)

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The goldfish hindbrain develops from a segmented (rhombomeric) neuroepithelial scaffold, similar to other vertebrates. Motor, reticular and other neuronal groups develop in specific segmental locations within this rhombomeric framework. Teleosts are unique in possessing a segmental series of unpaired, midline central arteries that extend from the basilar artery and penetrate the pial midline of each hindbrain rhombomere (r). This study demonstrates that the rhombencephalic arterial supply of the brainstem forms in relation to the neural segments they supply. Midline central arteries penetrate the pial floor plate and branch within the neuroepithelium near the ventricular surface to form vascular trees that extend back towards the pial surface. This intramural branching pattern has not been described in any other vertebrate, with blood flow in a ventriculo-pial direction, vastly different than the pial-ventricular blood flow observed in most other vertebrates. Each central arterial stem penetrates the pial midline and ascends through the floor plate, giving off short transverse paramedian branches that extend a short distance into the adjoining basal plate to supply ventromedial areas of the brainstem, including direct supply of reticulospinal neurons. Robust r3 and r8 central arteries are significantly larger and form a more interconnected network than any of the remaining hindbrain vascular stems. The r3 arterial stem has extensive vascular branching, including specific vessels that supply the cerebellum, trigeminal motor nucleus located in r2/3 and facial motoneurons found in r6/7. Results suggest that some blood vessels may be predetermined to supply specific neuronal populations, even traveling outside of their original neurovascular territories in order to supply migrated neurons.

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