The intrinsic and extrinsic blood supplies of the vertebral column of rats have been examined by corrosion cast with Mercox CL2B(R). The close functional and topographic relationship of vessels to supplied structures were exposed by fractionated maceration of the soft tissues. The segmental arteries diverge into an anterior, median and posterior group with various anastomoses between their branches. Vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs are preferably supplied by branches of the anterior and median section. The vessels reaching the vertebral body from the dorsal side diverge in a treelike branching mode into the direction of the vertebral endplate. The venous drainage takes place by the segment-overlapping internal and external vertebral venous plexuses. Bloodflow regulating sphincters can be identified within all parts of the arterial and venous system. This fact seems to be of great importance regarding pathophysiological processes of degeneration and likewise regeneration even of the intervertebral discs.