A Neglected Normal Anatomical Structure in Mammal: A Study in Bats and Tree Shrews

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Ya-Ru Dou; Cheng Chen; Jin Gong; Chukwuemeka Samuel Okoye; Sheng-Bo Yu; Ying Zhang; Nan Zheng & Hong-Jin Sui


The myodural bridge is a dense connective tissue connecting muscles and ligaments to the spinal dura mater in the atlanto-occipital interspace. Some researchers believe that the myodural bridge may play a vital physiological role. It is possible, for instance, that the prevention of spinal dura mater infoldings might be involved in regulated cerebrospinal fluid circulation. For instance, it is possible to prevent spinal dura mater infoldings, regulating cerebrospinal circulation. Bats are nocturnal and the only mammals that can perform a genuine and sustained flight, whereas tree shrews are arboreal mammals that often climb to a high altitude of about 10,000 feet. Both animals have lifestyles that are different from other previously studied mammals. The study of these two animals will shed further light on the existence of the myodural bridge in mammals. Gross anatomical dissection was used to observe the connections between the deep muscles of the neck and the dura mater at the level of the atlanto-occipital interspace. The existing structures were analyzed using conventional and special histological staining techniques. The suboccipital regions in bats and tree shrews contained the rectus capitis dorsal major (RCDma), rectus capitis dorsal minor (RCDmi), oblique capitis anterior (OCA), and oblique capitis posterior (OCP). Dense connective tissue connects the RCDmi to the posterior atlanto-occipital membrane (PAOM) and the latter to the spinal dura mater. The myodural bridge in these mammals shares a similar structure to the myodural bridge in humans. Histological analyses confirmed that the connective fibers of the myodural bridge were primarily type I collagen fibers. In this study, it is supplemented by the existence of the myodural bridge in mammals. This further demonstrates that myodural bridge widely exists in the normal anatomy of mammals. This provides morphological support for a comparative anatomical study of the physiological function of the myodural bridge.

KEY WORDS: Myodural bridge; Bat; Tree shrew; Morphology; Comparative anatomy.

How to cite this article

DOU, Y. R.; CHEN, C.; GONG, J.; OKOYE, C. S.; YU, S. B.; ZHANG, Y.; ZHENG, Y. & SUI, H. J. A neglected normal anatomical structure in mammal: a study in bats and tree shrews. Int. J. Morphol., 41(1):104-110, 2023.