Letter | Published:

Functions of the Mammalian Carotid Rete Mirabile

Naturevolume 191pages8889 (1961) | Download Citation



ALTHOUGH a carotid rete mirabile is present in many mammals, notably the artiodactyla, its function is uncertain. Many workers have suggested that the rete may regulate the cerebral blood-flow1,2, but emphasis has usually been laid on its effect on the arteries rather than the veins. However, an alternative possibility is that the rete is concerned primarily with assisting the venous return from the interior of the cranium, which is especially liable to be embarrassed in animals that feed with the head dependent. Enhancement of the blood-flow in veins is known to be a function of certain retia mirabilia elsewhere3.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Daniel, P. M., Dawes, J. D. K., and Pritchard, M. M. L., Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., B, 237, 173 (1953).

  2. 2

    Ask-Upmark, E., Acta Psychiat., Kbh., Supp. 6, 1 (1935).

  3. 3

    Barnett, C. H., Harrison, R. J., and Tomlinson, J. D. W., Biol. Rev., 33, 442 (1958).

  4. 4

    Johnston, T. B., Davies, D. V., and Davies, F., Gray's Anatomy, thirty-second ed. (Longmans, London, 1958).

  5. 5

    Bramwell, J. C., Dowling, A. C., and Hill, A. V., Heart, 10, 289 (1923).

  6. 6

    Reynolds, S. R. M., Amer. J. Physiol., 166, 25 (1951).

Download references

Author information


  1. Department of Anatomy, St. Thomas's Hospital Medical School, London, S.E.1

    • C. H. BARNETT
    •  & C. D. MARSDEN


  1. Search for C. H. BARNETT in:

  2. Search for C. D. MARSDEN in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.