CNS tumor
CNS cysts
Pineal cyst

Author: Eman Abdelzaher, M.D., Ph.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 23 August 2017, last major update February 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: "Pineal cyst"

Cite this page: Abdelzaher, E. Pineal cyst. website. Accessed November 15th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Glial cyst within the pineal gland
  • Present in 2 - 3% of adults
  • May resemble a cystic tumor
  • Usually incidental finding, affect all age groups
  • Minority of cases, usually in young adults, are large enough to compress aqueduct and cause symptoms
  • Fine needle aspiration may provide rapid diagnosis (Cancer 2005;105:80)
Radiology description
  • Midline, well circumscribed, 1 - 3 cm
Case reports
Gross description
  • Smooth external surface and inner lining
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Pineal cyst

Microscopic (histologic) description
Three layered cyst:
  • Inner lining is glial tissue which is hypocellular, highly fibrillated with many Rosenthal fibers; hemosiderin is common
  • Glial layer is surrounded by compressed, often calcified, pineal parenchyma
  • Outer layer is leptomeningeal connective tissue (Ann Diagn Path 1997;1:11)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Pineal gland cyst adjacent to midbrain

Pineal tissue (left) and glial tissue (right)


Cyst is separated from partially calcified normal pineal tissue by thick layer of gliofibrillary tissue with Rosenthal fibers

Cytology description
  • Small, uniform polygonal cells