Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 178, Issue 4, pp 495–515 | Cite as

Ultrastructure of arterioles in the cat brain

  • W. Roggendorf
  • J. Cervós-Navarro


A total of 110 arterioles were examined in the brains of cats; different sites were studied including the cortex, putamen, pons and crus cerebri. No internal elastic laminae were seen in the subendothelial space, although occasional fragments of elastic material were present in the larger arterioles. The media was composed of one, two or three layers of smooth muscle cells which interlocked in such a way that the vessel wall thickness was constant. Numerous tight junctions were seen between adjacent smooth muscle cells and between the endothelium and smooth muscle cells. Apart from the usual cell organelles, the smooth muscle cells of arterioles had numerous dense patches on the cell surface. The structure of the adventitia varied according to the diameter of the vessel and the site in the brain; it contained adventitial cells, bundles of collagen fibres and nerve fibres. Innervation of arterioles was more constant in the brain stem than in the cortex. Metarterioles had less specialised, atypical smooth muscle cells, a discontinuous media and numerous, extensive myoendothelial tight junctions; they were not innervated by nerve fibres. The diameter of metarterioles was less than 10 μm whereas that of arterioles was 10–45 μm. The possible functional aspects of arteriolar innervation are discussed.

Key words

Cerebral vessels Arterioles Myoendothelial tight junctions Innervation Electron microscopy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahmed, M.M.: The fine structure of endothelium in coronary arterioles. Acta anat. (Basel) 69, 327–342 (1968)Google Scholar
  2. Ancla, M., De Brux, J.: Etude au microscope électronique des arterioles spiralées de l'endomètre humain. Ann. Anat. path. 9, 209–222 (1964)Google Scholar
  3. Baez, S.: Vascular smooth muscle: quantitation of cell thickness in the wall of arterioles in the living animal in situ. Science 159, 536–538 (1968)Google Scholar
  4. Barajas, L.: The innervation of the juxtaglomerular apparatus. An electron microscopic study of the innervation of the glomerular arterioles. Lab. Invest. 13, 916–929 (1964)Google Scholar
  5. Becker, G., Murphy, G.J.: Demonstration of contractile protein in endothelium and cells of the heart valves, endocardium, intimal arteriosclerotic plaques, and Aschoff bodies of rheumatic heart diseases. Amer. J. Path. 55, 137 (1969)Google Scholar
  6. Bensch, K.G., Gordon, G.B., Miller, L.: Fibrillar structures resembling leiomyofibrils in endothelial cells of mammalian pulmonary vessels. Z. Zellforsch. 63, 757–766Google Scholar
  7. Brettschneider, H.: Über die Innervation der Muskelgefäße. In: Probleme der Haut- und Muskeldurchblutung (Delius-Witzler, eds.). Berlin-Göttingen-Heidelberg: Springer 1964Google Scholar
  8. Burnstock, G.: Structure of smooth muscle and its innervation in smooth muscle. Baltimore: The Williams & Wilkins Co. 1970Google Scholar
  9. Burton, Ch.: Handbook of physiology: Circulation, Vol. I. American Physiological Soc. Washington (1962)Google Scholar
  10. Caesar, R.: Gefäße und Herz im elektronenmikroskopischen Bild. In: Handbuch der speziellen Pathologie, Erg. I. 4, S. 701–732 (1969)Google Scholar
  11. Cervós-Navarro, J., Leipert, M., Valencak, E., Matakas, F., Sieber, U.: La morphologie ultrastructurale du S.N. dans “la perfusion de luxe” de l'acidose respiratoire. Neuro-chirurgie (Paris) 17, 595–600 (1971)Google Scholar
  12. Cervós-Navarro, J., Matakas, F.: Electron microscopic evidence for innervation of intracerebral arterioles in the cat. Neurology (Minneap.) 24, 3, 282–286 (1974)Google Scholar
  13. Claude, Ph., Goodenough, D.: Fracture faces of zonulae occludentes from “tight” and “leaky” epithelia. J. Cell Biol. 58, 390–400 (1973)Google Scholar
  14. Cowdry, E.V.: Structure and physiology of blood vessels in arteriosclerosis, p. 53s. New York: Macmillan 1933Google Scholar
  15. Dahl, E.: The fine structure of intracerebral vessels. Z. Zellforsch. 145, 577–586 (1973)Google Scholar
  16. Dahl, E.: The innervation of the cerebral arteries. J. Anat. (Lond.) 115, 53–66 (1973)Google Scholar
  17. Dahl, E., Flora, G., Nelson, E.: Electron microscopic observations on normal human intracranial arteries. Neurology (Minneap.) 15, 132–140 (1965)Google Scholar
  18. Dewey, M.M., Barr, L.: Intercellular connection between smooth muscle cells: the nexus. Science 137, 670–672 (1962)Google Scholar
  19. Drommer, W.: Feinstruktur der normalen Arteriolen und ihre Alterationen nach experimentellem Colitoxinschock im zentralen Nervensystem des Schweines. Acta neuropath. (Berl.) 22, 29–41 (1972)Google Scholar
  20. Epling, G.S.: Electron microscope observations of pericytes of small blood vessels in the lungs and hearts of normal cattle and swine. Anat. Rec. 155, 513–530 (1966)Google Scholar
  21. Fawcett, D.W.: Observations on the submicroscopic structure on small arteries, arterioles and capillaries. Anat. Rec. 124, 401 (1956)Google Scholar
  22. Fawcett, D.W.: The fine structure of capillaries, arterioles and small arteries on the microcirculation. Symposium on factors influencing exchange of substances across capillary wall (Reynolds, S.R.M., Zweifach, B.W., eds.), pp. 1–27. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1959Google Scholar
  23. Fernando, N.V.P., Movat, H.Z.: The fine structure of the terminal vascular bed. I. Small arteries with an internal elastic lamina. Exp. molec. Path. 2, 549–563 (1963)Google Scholar
  24. Fernando, N.V.P., Movat, H.Z.: The fine structure of the terminal vascular bed. II. The smallest arterial vessel: terminal arterioles and metarterioles. Exp. molec. Path. 3, 1–9 (1964)Google Scholar
  25. Frederickson, R.G., Low, F.N.: Blood vessels and tissue space associated with the rat. Amer. J. Anat. 125, 123–145 (1969)Google Scholar
  26. Friend, D.S., Gilula, N.B.: Variations in tight and gap junctions in mammalian tissue. J. Cell Biol. 53, 758–776 (1972)Google Scholar
  27. Frömter, E., Diamond, J.: Route of passive ion permeation in epithelia. Nature (Lond.) New Biol. 235, 9–13 (1972)Google Scholar
  28. Fulton, G.P., Lutz, B.R.: Smooth muscle motor units in small blood vessels. Amer. J. Physiol. 135, 531–534 (1942)Google Scholar
  29. Furness, J.B.: The excitatory input to a single smooth muscle cell. Pflügers Arch. 314, 1–13 (1970)Google Scholar
  30. Greenlee, T.K., Jr., Ross, R., Hartman, J.L.: The fine structure of elastic fibres. J. Cell Biol. 30, 59–71 (1966)Google Scholar
  31. Hager, H.: Elektronenmikroskopische Untersuchungen über die Feinstruktur der Blutgefäße und perivaskulären Räume im Säugetierhirn. Acta neuropath. (Berl.) 1, 9–33 (1961)Google Scholar
  32. Hammersen, F.: Anatomie der terminalen Strombahn. München-Berlin-Wien: Urban & Schwarzenberg 1971Google Scholar
  33. Han, S.S., Avery, J.K.: The ultrastructure of capillaries and arterioles of the hamster dental pulp. Anat. Rec. 145, 549–572 (1963)Google Scholar
  34. Hibbs, R.G., Burch, G.E., Phillips, J.H.: The fine structure of the small blood vessels of normal human dermis and subcutis. Amer. Heart J. 56, 662–670 (1958)Google Scholar
  35. Hogan, M.J., Feeney, L.: The ultrastructure of the retinal blood vessels: the large vessels. J. Ultrastruct. Res. 9, 10–28 (1963)Google Scholar
  36. Hogan, M.J., Feeney, L.: The ultrastructure of the retinal vessels: the small vessels. J. Ultrastruct. Res. 9, 29–46 (1963)Google Scholar
  37. Jacobsen, N.O., Jorgensen, F.J., Thomsen, A.C.: An electron microscopic study of small arteries and arterioles in the normal human kidney. Nephron 3, 17–39 (1966)Google Scholar
  38. Jorgensen, F., Thomsen, A.C.: Dimensions of some wall components of small arteries and arterioles in the normal human kidney. Acta patth. microbiol. scand. 76, 501–509 (1969)Google Scholar
  39. Kawamura, J., Rennels, J., Nelson, S.: The innervation of intracerebral arteries of the human brain: an electron microscopic study. A.M.N.A., 15–17 (1972)Google Scholar
  40. Kernohan, J.V., Anderson, E.W., Keith, N.N.: Arterioles in cases of hypertension. Arch. intern. Med. 44, 395 (1929)Google Scholar
  41. Lawn, A.N.: The use of potassium permanganate as an electron dense stain of sections of tissue embedded in epoxy resin. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 7, 197 (1960)Google Scholar
  42. Lever, J.D.: Ahmed, M.M., Irvine, G.: Neuromuscular and intercellular relationships in the coronary arterioles. A morphological and quantitative study by light and electron microscopy. J. Anat. (Lond.) 99, 825–840 (1965)Google Scholar
  43. Lever, J.D., Esterhuizen, A.C.: Fines structure of the arteriolar nerves in the guinea-pig pancreas. Nature (Lond.) 192, 566–567 (1961)Google Scholar
  44. Lever, J.D., Graham, J.D.F., Irvine, G., Chich, W.J.: The vesiculated axons in relation to arteriolar smooth muscle in the pancreas. A fine structural and quantitative study. J. Anat. (Lond.) 99, 299–313 (1965)Google Scholar
  45. Matakas, F., Cervós-Navarro, J., Roggendorf, W.: Local differences in innervation of cerebral vessels and their relationships to vessel reaction. In: The cerebral vessel wall (J. Cervós-Navarro, F. Matakas, eds.). New York: Ravens Press 1976Google Scholar
  46. Matthews, M.A., Gardner, D.L.: The fine structure of capillaries and arteries in the rat. Angiology 17, 902–926 (1966)Google Scholar
  47. Maximow, A., Bloom, W.: A textbook of histology. Philadelphia: Saunders 1957Google Scholar
  48. Maynard, E., Schultz, R.L., Pease, D.C.: Electron microscopy of vascular bed of rat cerebral cortex. Amer. J. Anat. 100, 409–434 (1957)Google Scholar
  49. Moore, D.H., Ruska, H.: Fine structure of capillaries and small arteries. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 3, 457–462 (1957)Google Scholar
  50. Parker, F.: An electron microscope study of coronary arteries. Amer. J. Anat. 103, 247 (1958)Google Scholar
  51. Pease, D.C., Molinari, S.: Electron microscopy of muscular arteries, pial vessels of the cat and monkey. J. Ultrastruct. Res. 3, 447–468 (1960)Google Scholar
  52. Phelps, P.C., Luft, J.H.: Electron microscopical study of relaxation and constriction in frog arterioles. Amer. J. Anat. 125, 399–429 (1969)Google Scholar
  53. Policard, A., Collet, A., Giltaire-Ralyte, L.: Observation en microscope électronique sur la structure inframicroscopique des artérioles des mammifères. Bull. Micr. appl. 5, 3–4 (1955)Google Scholar
  54. Reale, E., Ruska, H.:. Die Feinstruktur der Gefäßwände. Angiologica 2, 314–366 (90–142) (1965)Google Scholar
  55. Rhodin, J.A.G.: Fine structure of vascular walls in mammals with special reference to smooth muscle component. Physiol. Rev. 42, Suppl. 5, 48–81 (1962)Google Scholar
  56. Rhodin, J.A.G.: The ultrastructure of mammalian arterioles and precapillary sphincters. J. Ultrastruct. Res. 18, 181–223 (1967)Google Scholar
  57. Röhlich, P., Olah, J.: Cross-striated fibrils in the endothelium of the rat myometral arterioles. J. Ultrastruct. Res. 18, 667–676 (1967)Google Scholar
  58. Ross, R.: The elastic fiber. A review. J. Histochem. Cytochem. 21, 199 (1973)Google Scholar
  59. Sheridan, J.D.: Electrophysiological evidence for low resistence of intercellular junctions in early chick embryo. J. Cell Biol. 37, 650–669 (1968)Google Scholar
  60. Simpson, F.O., Devine, C.E.: The fine structure of autonomic neuromuscular contacts in arterioles of sheep renal cortex. J. Anat. (Lond.) 100, 127–137 (1966)Google Scholar
  61. Watson, M.L.: Staining of tissue sections for electron microscopy with heavy metals. J. biophys. and biochem. Cytol. 4, 475–578 (1958)Google Scholar
  62. Zwillenberg, L.O., Zwillenberg, H.H.L.: Elektronenmikroskopische Beobachtungen an den Hülsenarteriolen in der Milz des Hundes. Experientia (Basel) 18, 136 (1962)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Roggendorf
    • 1
  • J. Cervós-Navarro
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Neuropathologie des Klinikum Steglitz der Freien Universität BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations