Corpora arenacea

Corpora arenacea (or brain sand or acervuli[1][2] or corpus arenaceum[3]) are calcified structures in the pineal gland and other areas of the brain such as the choroid plexus. Older organisms have numerous corpora arenacea, whose function, if any, is unknown. Concentrations of "brain sand" increase with age, so the pineal gland becomes increasingly visible on X-rays over time, usually by the third or fourth decade. They are sometimes used as anatomical landmarks in radiological examinations.[4]

Not to be confused with Corpora amylacea
Brain sand
LatinCorpora arenacea
Anatomical terminology

Chemical analysis shows that they are composed of calcium phosphate (later characterized as hydroxyapatite[5]), calcium carbonate, magnesium phosphate, and ammonium phosphate.[6] Recently, calcite deposits have been described as well.[7]


  1. Vígh, B; Szél, A; Debreceni, K; Fejér, Z; Manzano e Silva, MJ; Vígh-Teichmann, I (1998). "Comparative histology of pineal calcification". Histology and Histopathology. 13 (3): 851–70. PMID 9690142. Archived from the original on 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  2. Kim, Jinkyung; Kim, Hyun-Wook; Chang, Soeun; Kim, Jee Woong; Je, Jung Ho; Rhyu, Im Joo (2012). "Growth patterns for acervuli in human pineal gland". Scientific Reports. 2: 984. Bibcode:2012NatSR...2E.984K. doi:10.1038/srep00984. PMC 3523289. PMID 23248747.
  3. Tomonari, Yuki; Sato, Junko; Wako, Yumi; Tsuchitani, Minoru (2012). "Age-related Histological Findings in the Pineal Gland of Crl:CD(SD) Rats". Journal of Toxicologic Pathology. 25 (4): 287–91. doi:10.1293/tox.25.287. PMC 3517926. PMID 23345933.
  4. "thesis:The Effect of Fluoride on the Physiology of the Pineal Gland" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-04. The calcified pineal is used as a landmark in skull X- rays because of its radio-opacity
  5. Angervall, Lennart; Berger, Sven; Röckert, Hans (2009). "A Microradiographic and X-Ray Crystallographic Study of Calcium in the Pineal Body and in Intracranial Tumours". Acta Pathologica et Microbiologica Scandinavica. 44 (2): 113–119. doi:10.1111/j.1699-0463.1958.tb01060.x.
  6. Bocchi, Giancarlo; Valdre, Giovanni; Valdre, Giovanni (1993). "Physical, chemical, and mineralogical characterization of carbonate-hydroxyapatite concretions of the human pineal gland". Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 49 (3): 209–20. doi:10.1016/0162-0134(93)80006-U. PMID 8381851.
  7. Baconnier, Simon; Lang, Sidney B.; Polomska, Maria; Hilczer, Bozena; Berkovic, Garry; Meshulam, Guilia (2002). "Calcite microcrystals in the pineal gland of the human brain: First physical and chemical studies". Bioelectromagnetics. 23 (7): 488–95. doi:10.1002/bem.10053. PMID 12224052.

Further reading

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