Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 226, Issue 3, pp 511–522 | Cite as

Fine structure and permeability of capillaries in the stria vascularis and spiral ligament of the inner ear of the guinea pig

  • Masafumi Sakagami
  • Toru Matsunaga
  • Paulo H. Hashimoto


The blood capillaries in the stria vascularis and the spiral ligament of guinea pigs were studied by electron microscopy with freeze-fracture and thin section methods, including tracer experiments with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and microperoxidase (MP). The endothelial cells of the capillaries of both tissues are connected by tight junctions, and contain about the same number of micropinocytotic vesicles. In cases of intravascular administration before fixation, both of the tracers stained the perivascular space and almost all endothelial vesicles in the stria vascularis. On the other hand, the perivascular space and many vesicles in the spiral ligament were unstained. The endothelial tight junctions in the stria vascularis prevented the penetration of HRP, but sometimes allowed the penetration of MP. Those of the spiral ligament were impermeable to both tracers. In cases of tracer administration after fixation, leakage spots of HRP from capillaries were sparsely located all over the stria vascularis. Transendothelial channels and isolated fenestrae formed by micropinocytotic vesicles were detected. It is concluded that the capillaries of the stria vascularis are similar to the muscle capillaries and to the capillaries of the elasmobranch brain, whereas those in the spiral ligament are similar to the brain capillaries of higher vertebrates.

Key words

Capillary permeability Stria vascularis Spiral ligament Freeze-fracture Inner ear 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masafumi Sakagami
    • 1
  • Toru Matsunaga
    • 1
  • Paulo H. Hashimoto
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Otolaryngology and AnatomyOsaka, University Medical SchoolOsakaJapan

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