As of the latest update, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have made a breaking change to how file uploads are handled. Once your system installs this update, you will not be able to upload new images. Please use another browser until we can get it fixed.

Cranial meninges

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The cranial meninges (singular: meninx) surround the brain and are made up of three layers (from outermost to innermost):

  1. dura mater
  2. arachnoid mater
  3. pia mater

The dura mater can also be known as the pachymeninx. The arachnoid mater and pia mater are collectively known as the leptomeninges 3. The spinal meninges are similar but have some important differences. 

The meninges function to protect the brain but also provide a framework for blood vessels, nerves, lymphatics and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 2.

There are two potential spaces:

There is one CSF-containing real space, subarachnoid space, between the arachnoid and pia mater. 

History and etymology

The word meninges, is the plural of meninx, and the same word in Ancient Greek means "membrane" 4. ​

Anatomy: Brain

Anatomy: Brain

Share article

Article information

rID: 25235
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cranial meninx

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: layers of the scalp and meninges
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 2: meninges
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.