Innervation of the meninges

Last revised by Robin Yang on 13 Aug 2020

The sensory innervation of the meninges is primarily by meningeal branches of both the trigeminal and vagus nerves with a smaller contribution from the upper cervical spinal nerves 1,2. The supratentorial dura mater is mainly supplied by the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve 3. Like the arterial supply, innervation is dependent on the site of the dura.


The dominant nerve supplying most of the supratentorial dura is the tentorial nerve (a branch of the ophthalmic nerve (CN Va)) which supplies the falx, calvarial dura and superior surface of the tentorium.

Anterior cranial fossa
Middle cranial fossa
  • meningeal branches of ophthalmic, maxillary and mandibular divisions of trigeminal nerve 1,2
  • tentorial branches of the ophthalmic and maxillary divisions of the trigeminal nerve extend posteriorly from the anterior end of the cavernous sinus to the upper surface of the tentorium cerebelli 1
  • middle meningeal nerve (a branch off the maxillary nerve (CN Vb) supplies the anterior parts of the fossa
  • meningeal branch of the mandibular nerve (CN Vc) supplies the posterior parts of the fossa
Posterior cranial fossa

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