Virchows Archiv A

, Volume 413, Issue 5, pp 373–380 | Cite as

Intercellular contacts in tumours of the vascular smooth muscle cells in man

  • J. A. Sosa-Melgarejo
  • C. L. Berry


Electron microscopy has been used to study the cell to cell and cell to stroma contacts between smooth muscle cells (SMC) in normal vessels, angiomyolipoma and well and poorly differentiated vascular leiomyosarcoma. Micrographs were examined with a semiautomatic image analysis system. The length of the cell borders was calculated and the type and number of contacts per 100 µm cell perimeter and per 100 cells were determined. In all cases there was a predominance of simple appositions. Intermediate junctions, nexus junctions, interdigitations, intermediate contacts and junctional interdigitations were less frequently observed. In general, as the SMC become malignant and less differentiated the number of cell to stroma attachments decreases markedly and the intercellular contacts increase slightly.

Key words

Cell contacts Neoplastic vascular smooth muscle Human tumours 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alitalo K, Vaheri A (1982) Pericellular matrix in malignant transformation. Adv Cancer Res 37:111–158Google Scholar
  2. Alroy J, Pauli BU, Weinstein RS (1981) Correlation between numbers of desmosomes and the aggressiveness of transitional cell carcinoma in human urinary bladder. Cancer 47:104–112Google Scholar
  3. Bennett MV, Goodenough DA (1978) Gap junctions, electronic coupling and intercellular communication. Neurosci Res Prog Bull 16:371–486Google Scholar
  4. Clarke MA (1970) Specialized intercellular junctions in tumour cells. An electron microscope study of mouse sarcoma cells. Anat Rec 166:199–206Google Scholar
  5. Curtis ASG (1973) Cell adhesion. Prog Biophys Mol Biol 27:315–386Google Scholar
  6. Gabella G (1979) Smooth muscle cell junctions and structural aspects of contraction. Br Med Bull 35:213–218Google Scholar
  7. Gabella G (1984) Structural apparatus for force transmission in smooth muscles. Physiol Rev 64:455–477Google Scholar
  8. Garrod DR, Nicol A (1981) Cell behaviour and molecular mechanisms of cell-cell adhesion. Biol Rev 56:199–242Google Scholar
  9. Henderson RM (1975) Cell to cell contacts. In: Daniel EE, Paton DM (eds) Methods in Pharmacology, Vol 3; Smooth muscle. Plenum Press, New York, p 47–77Google Scholar
  10. Hooper ML, Subak-Sharpe JH (1981) Metabolic cooperation between cells. Int Rev Cytol 69:45–104Google Scholar
  11. Kanno Y (1985) Modulation of cell communication and carcinogenesis. Jpn J Physiol 35:693–707Google Scholar
  12. Liotta LA, Roa NC, Barsky SH, Bryant G (1984) The laminin receptor and basement membrane dissilution: role in tumour metastasis. In: Ciba Foundation (ed) Basement membranes and cell movement. Pitman Press, London, p 146–162Google Scholar
  13. Martinez-Palomo A (1971) Intercellular junctions in normal and malignant cells. Pathobiol Annu 1:261–279Google Scholar
  14. McNutt NS, Weinstein RS (1969) Carcinoma of the cervix: deficiency of nexus intercellular junctions. Science 165:597–598Google Scholar
  15. Roos E (1984) Cellular adhesion, invasion and metastasis. Biochim et Biophys Acta 738:263–284Google Scholar
  16. Staehelin LA (1974) Structure and function of intercellular junctions. Int Rev Cytol 39:191–293Google Scholar
  17. Staehelin LA, Hull BE (1978) Junctions between living cells. Scient Am 238(5):140–152Google Scholar
  18. Vracko R (1982) The role of basal lamina in maintenance of orderly tissue structure. In: Kuehn K, Schoene H, Timpl R (eds) New trends in basement membrane research, Raven Press, New York, p 1–7Google Scholar
  19. Wang NS, Seemayer TA, Ahmed MN, Morin J (1974) Pulmonary leimyosarcoma associated with an arteriovenous fistula. Arch Pathol 98:100–105Google Scholar
  20. Weinstein R, Zel G, Merk FB (1974) Quantification of occludens, adherens and nexus junctions in human tumours. In: Schultz J, Block RE (eds) Membrane transformation in neoplasia, Academic Press, New York, p 127–146Google Scholar
  21. Weinstein RS, Merk FB, Alroy J (1976) The structure and function of intercellular junctions in cancer. Adv Cancer Res 23:23–89Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Sosa-Melgarejo
    • 1
  • C. L. Berry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Morbid AnatomyThe London HospitalLondonUK

Personalised recommendations