The anterior cerebral artery (a. cerebri anterior) arises from the internal carotid, at the medial extremity of the lateral cerebral fissure. It passes forward and medialward across the anterior perforated substance, above the optic nerve, to the commencement of the longitudinal fissure. Here it comes into close relationship with the opposite artery, to which it is connected by a short trunk, the anterior communicating artery. From this point the two vessels run side by side in the longitudinal fissure, curve around the genu of the corpus callosum, and turning backward continue along the upper surface of the corpus callosum to its posterior part, where they end by anastomosing with the posterior cerebral arteries.
The anterior cerebral artery is divided into 5 segments. Its smaller branches: the callosal (supracallosal) arteries are considered as the A4 and A5 segments.
- A1 originates from the internal carotid artery and extends to the anterior communicating artery (AComm). The anteromedial central (medial lenticulostriate) arteries arise from this segment as well as the AComm, which irrigates the caudate nucleus and the anterior limb of the internal capsule
- A2 extends from the AComm to the bifurcation forming the pericallosal and callosomarginal arteries. The recurrent artery of Heubner (distal medial striate artery), which irrigates the internal capsule, usually arises at the beginning of this segment near the AComm. Two branches arise from this segment:
- Orbitofrontal artery (medial frontal basal): Arises a small distance away from the AComm
- Frontopolar artery (polar frontal): Arises after the orbitofrontal, close to the curvature of A2 over the corpus callosum. It can also originate from the callosal marginal.
- A3, also termed the pericallosal artery, is one of the (or the only) main terminal branches of the ACA, which extends posteriorly in the pericallosal sulcus to form the internal parietal arteries (superior, inferior) and the precuneal artery. This artery may form an anastomosis with the posterior cerebral artery.
- Callosal marginal artery: A commonly present terminal branch of the ACA, which bifurcates from the pericallosal artery. This artery in turn branches into the medial frontal arteries (anterior, intermediate, posterior), and the paracentral artery, with the cingulate branches arising throughout its length. Depending on anatomical variation, the callosal marginal artery may be none discrete or not be visible. In the latter case, the branches mentioned will originate from the pericallosal artery. In a study of 76 hemispheres, the artery was present in only 60% of the cases.