Middle cerebral artery

  • The middle cerebral artery (MCA, latin: arteria cerebri media) is one of the terminal branches of the internal carotid artery. The MCA supplies blood to the the motor and somatosensory cortex, auditory area of the cerebral cortex and insula via its cortical branches, and to the subcortical structures via its central branches.

    From its origin the middle cerebral artery continues into the lateral sulcus of the cerebrum, then it ascends posteriorly on the insula, and divides into branches that project to the lateral cerebral cortex.

    The MCA has cortical and central branches.

    The cortical branches of the middle cerebral artery include the following:

    • orbital branches,
    • frontal branches,
    • parietal branches,
    • temporal branches.

    The orbital branches of the middle cerebral artery supply the inferior frontal gyrus and the lateral orbital surface of the frontal lobe.

    The frontal branches supply the precentral, middle and inferior frontal gyri.

    The parietal branches supply the postcentral gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and lower part of the superior parietal lobule.

    And the temporal branches of the middle cerebral artery are distributed to the lateral surface of the temporal lobe.  

    The central branches of the MCA are the lenticulostriate arteries supplying the lentiform complex, internal capsule, and caudate nucleus.