The anterior cerebral artery supplies most of the superior-medial parietal lobes and portions of the frontal lobes with fresh blood. Blood supply to the brain is essential to its functionality, and a lack of blood flow to the vital processes of the brain can cause serious harm. If blood flow is blocked in the anterior cerebral arteries, paralysis or sensory deficits may occur, or even a stroke.
Anterior cerebral arteries supply blood to the frontal lobes' anterior (front) aspects, areas responsible for higher-level cognition, including judgment and reasoning. Blockages of these arteries can result in cerebral dementia and speech difficulties. A blockage may also cause apraxia of gait and can influence the movement of the arms. Apraxia is the loss of ability to perform certain actions that a person should be physically able to do and has the desire to do. Apraxia of gait is apraxia related to walking and may look like an unusually wide walk with short, flat steps.
The anterior cerebral artery originates at the internal carotid and travels at a right angle with penetrating branches supplying blood to various parts of the brain. This artery supplies blood to:
- The septal area: a part of the brain that plays a role in regulating fear and pleasure responses
- The corpus callosum: a thick band of fibers that divides the two halves of the brain
- The primary somatosensory cortexes for the foot and leg: the areas that interpret sense of touch for the foot and leg
- The frontal lobes' motor planning areas: areas of the brain that affect planning and judgment
The anterior cerebral artery is a component of the circle of Willis, an interconnected section of arteries in the brain.