Definition: a delicate fibrous membrane forming the middle of the three coverings of the central nervous system. In life, the arachnoid (specifically the arachnoid barrier cell layer) is tenuously attached to the externally adjacent dura mater (specifically the dural border cell layer), and no natural space occurs at the dura-arachnoid interface. Thus, in a spinal puncture, dura mater and arachnoid are penetrated simultaneously as if a single layer. Separation of the arachnoid mater from the dura mater (usually through the dural-border cell layer) may result from traumatic or pathologic processes creating what is commonly, but incorrectly, called a subdural hematoma. The arachnoid mater is named for the delicate, spiderweblike filaments that extend from its deep surface, through the cerebrospinal fluid of the subarachnoid space, to the pia mater.
See Also: leptomeninx