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Vascular Histology

Wednesday, 28 March 2012 3:06 PM

Vascular Histology

Vascular includes both blood and lymphatic systems. Arteries are efferent vessels (going away) which become smaller as they branch and carry blood to the tissues. Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels which serve as the interchange between blood and tissues Veins are afferent vessels which become larger as they approach and return blood to the heart Veins Venule --> medium sized vein --> large vein

Arteries Arteriole --> muscular artery --> elastic artery Heart On a microscopic level, the heart consists of three layers (tunics): Internal endocardium Middle myocardium (cardiac muscle) External epicardium
Endocardium The first layer (in contact with the lumen). There is a thin layer of endothelial cells. These are supported by connective tissue with both elastin and collagen (strength). Connecting the endocardial CT to the myocardial tissue is the subendocardial layer which contains veins, nerves and perkinje fibres Myocardium It is the thickest layer of the heart and is also known as cardiac muscle. It is comprised of cardiac muscle cells arranged in layers. In between the muscle fibres there are both a rich supply of capillaries and also delicate supporting connective tissue.


Centrally located nucleus (single nuclei) Branching

Intercalated discs (squiggly line): highly specialised attachment which joins cardiac cells together and allows them to contract rapidly as a single unit

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Connective Tissue

Epicardium The heart is covered externally by a simple squamous epithelium (mesothelium, secretes pericardial fluid) which is supported by CT known as epicardium. The 'epicardium' is also the visceral layer of the epicardium.
Pericardium It encloses the heart and holds it in place: outer fibrous and inter serous pericardium

The outer fibrous pericardium is a dense irregular CT which protects and anchors the heart, enabling it to beat effectively (prevents overstretching). The serous pericardium consists of a parietal (outer) layer, pericardial cavity with pericardial fluid and a visceral layer (epicardium). Tissues of the Vascular Wall Larger blood vessels have 3 basic structural components: Simple squamous endothelium Maintenance of selectively permeability barrier Maintenance of nonthrombogenic barrier (prevents clotting) Modulation of blood flow Regulation and modulation of immune responses (enables white blood cells to migrate out of the blood vessel) Hormonal synthesis & other metabolic activities Modification of lipoproteins Smooth muscle Involuntary control Occurs in walls of all vessels larger than capillaries
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Occurs in walls of all vessels larger than capillaries Arranged helically in layers (wrapped around in concentric layers) Connective tissue Components vary based on local environments (dependant on function)

Tunica intima, epithelium and CT; lining of BV

Tunica media; smooth muscle; varies diameter of BV lumen (blood pressure)

Tunica Adventitia; Dence CT; tough protective outer coating of BV

Intima Has a subendothilial layer with loose CT and a few smooth muscle cells. Has holes to enable substances to nourish cells in vessel
Media Concentric layers of smooth muscle cells interspersed with elastic fibres. Arteries Adventitia

Vaso Vasorum They are vessels within the walls of vessels which allow perfusion of blood to the cells of the vessel. More in veins than arteries because veins carry deoxygenated blood. Supply adventitia and outer media. Elastic Arteries Large diameter vessels with very thick walls. Generally found closer to the heart (high pressure). Instead of having large amounts of smooth muscle cells the media is high in elastin content (concentric elastic laminae). It is able to stretch during systole and recoil during diastole, reduces the fluctuations in BP. Many vaso varosum in adventitia

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Many vaso varosum in adventitia

Muscular Arteries More smooth muscle cells rather than elastic fibres in the media. Allows vasoconstriction/dilation to allow the rate of blood flow. They distribute blood flow to different organs through this mechanism. Arterioles Generally <5mm in diameter. It is the smallest vessel where the three layers can be distinguished. The subendothilial layer is very thin. Media only contains few layers of smooth muscle cells; v thin adventitia. They are still capable of vasoconstriction/dilation to control the BP through the capillaries Capillaries

They are found near every cell in the body and are found in higher numbers around tissue with high metabolic activity. They serve as an exchange site for nutrients and wastes. Single layered: endothelium and basement membrane.

Continuous capillaries Tight junctions (between cells) to prevent fluid leakage Highly selective exchange
Fenestrated capillaries (holes) Cell membranes of capillary cells have many fenestrations Less selective but more rapid exchange e.g. kidney glomeruli Sinusoids Very fenestrated with incomplete basement membrane Bulk exchange with little selectivity e.g. liver, bone marrow Diagram of the walls of the different kinds of capillaries

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Diagram of the walls of the different kinds of capillaries Venules They drain the capillary network. Contain endothelial cells with basement membrane and also a few smooth muscle cells As the diameter of the venule increases, the amount of smooth muscle increases Small Veins The smooth muscle cells form a more continuous layer and eventually a adventitia composed of collagenous CT is developed. Larger Veins Intima is a thin endothelium with little CT Media has less muscle cells (than arteries) and if patchy in arrangement No internal of external elastic laminae Adventitia is the predominant layer

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