The posterior intercostal vein:a thermoregulatory gateway to the internal vertebral venous plexus

Hoogland, P. V. and Wessels, Quenton and Vorster, W. and Groen, R. J. M. and Wettstein, R. and Greyling, L. M. and Kotze, S. H. (2013) The posterior intercostal vein:a thermoregulatory gateway to the internal vertebral venous plexus. Clinical Anatomy, 26 (6). pp. 735-740. ISSN 1098-2353

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Abstract

The internal vertebral venous plexus (IVVP) plays a putative role in thermoregulation of the spinal cord. Cold cutaneous venous blood may cool, while warm venous blood from muscles and brown fat areas may warm the spinal cord. The regulating mechanisms for both cooling and warming are still unknown. Warm venous blood mainly enters the IVVP via the intervertebral veins. In the thoracic area these veins are connected to the posterior intercostal veins. In this study, anatomical structures were investigated that might support the mechanisms by which warmed venous blood from the intercostal muscles and the recently described paravertebral patches of brown adipose tissue are able to drain into the vertebral venous plexus. Therefore, tissue samples from human cadavers (n = 21) containing the posterior intercostal vein and its connections to the IVVP and the azygos veins were removed and processed for histology. Serial sections revealed that the proximal parts of the posterior intercostal veins contained abundant smooth muscle fibers at their opening into the azygos vein. Furthermore, the walls of the proximal parts of the posterior intercostal veins contain plicae that allow the vessel to dilate, thereby allowing it to serve as a pressure chamber. It is suggested that a cold induced closure of the intercostal/azygos opening can result in retrograde blood flow from the proximal posterior intercostal vein towards the IVVP. This blood flow would be composed of warm blood from the paravertebral brown adipose tissue and blood containing metabolic heat from the muscles draining into the intercostal veins.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Clinical Anatomy
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2722
Subjects:
ID Code:
67251
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
22 Oct 2013 07:48
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
29 Jan 2020 07:39