Anatomy and Embryology

, Volume 209, Issue 5, pp 357–369 | Cite as

Mophometric study of the aortic arch and its major branches in rat fetuses on the 21st day of gestation

  • L. Monnereau
  • A. Carretero
  • S. Berges
  • M. Navarro
  • M. Leonard
  • F. Lyazrhi
  • J. Sautet
  • J. Ruberte
Original Article


The anatomy and embryology of the aortic arch and its branching tributaries (brachiocephalic trunk, left common carotid artery and left subclavian artery) in man and animals are well substantiated. However, the anatomical variations and morphometry of the aortic arch and its branching tributaries in rat fetus at the 21st gestation day have not been studied. Pregnant rats were hysterectomized and the arterial systems of 114 fetuses were injected with a polymerisable resin through the umbilical artery. After maceration, the vascular casts were dissected out and prepared for observations under a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The resulting SEM pictures were studied with a picture analyser and different vessel parameters (diameters, lengths and angles) were measured. The success rate of the microvascular cast injection was 46.5%. Out of the 53 observed aortic arch casts, 98.1% showed the classical branching pattern and one (1.9%) had no brachiocephalic trunk. Morphological analysis showed many differences, which were not linked to the litter. The statistical processing of the measurements enabled us to determine that the aorta diameter after the branching of the left subclavian artery was the most replicable parameter. Moreover, the results revealed some strong correlations between different parameters. There are probably no discrete categories among the various observed parameters as diameters and angles. Some parameters show very little variability and can thus be used as reference points for further studies such as the comparison of a control population with a population treated with a relevant xenobiotic.


Aortic arch Rat Fetus Morphometry 


  1. Aharinejad S, Schreiner W, Neumann F (1998) Morphometry of human coronary arterial trees. Anat Rec 251:50–59CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Angell-James JE (1974) Variations in the vasculature of the aortic arch and its major branches in the rabbit. Acta Anat 87:283–300PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Barry A (1951) The aortic arch derivatives in the human adult. Anat Rec 5:221–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brouwers-Ceiler DL, Nelissen-Vrancken HJ, Smits JF, De Mey JG (1997) The influence of angiotensin II-induced increase in aortic wall mass on compliance in rats in vivo. Cardiovasc Res 33:478–484CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Casellas D, Dupont M, Jover B, Mimran A (1982) Scanning electron microscopic study of arterial cushions in rats: a novel application of the corrosion-replication technique. Anat Rec 203:419–428CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Castelholz A (1989) Interpretation of structural patterns appearing on corrosion casts of small initial lymphatic vessels. Scanning Microsc 3:315–325PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen IH, Prewitt RL (1982) A mathematical representation for vessel network. J Theor Biol 97:211–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christofferson RH, Nilsson BO (1988) Microvascular corrosion casting with analysis in the scanning elctron microscope. Scanning 10:43–63Google Scholar
  9. De Ruiter MC, Gittenberger-de Groot AC, Rammos S, Poelmann RE (1989) The special status of the pulmonary arch artery in the branchial arch system of the rat. Anat Embryol 179:319–325CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ditrich H, Splechtna H (1989) The ophistonephric blood vascular system of the chicken embryo as studied by scanning electron microscopy of microvascular corrosion casts and critical point dried preparations. Scanning Microsc 3:559–565PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Effmann EL (1982) Development of the right and left pulmonary arteries a microangiographic study in the mouse. Invest Radiol 17:529–553PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Fredriksson K, Nordborg C, Johansson BB (1984) The hemodynamic effect of bilateral carotid artery ligation and the morphometry of the main communicating circuit in normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats. Acta Physiol Scand 121:241–247PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Giavini E, Prati M, Vismara C (1981) Morphogenesis of aortic arch malformations in rat embryos after maternal treatment with glycerol formal during pregnancy. Acta Anat 109:166–172PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Gupta CD, Gupta SC (1976) Evaluation of intrahepatic arterial branching patterns in corrosion casts. J Anat 122:31–41PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hebel R, Stromberg MW (1976) Circulatory system. In: Anatomy of the laboratory rat. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 91–111Google Scholar
  16. Heideger PM, Van Orden DE, Farley DB (1983) Electron microscopic and histochemical characterization of intra-arterial cushions of the rat and porcine uterine vascular bed. Acta Anat 117:239–247PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Hodde KC, Nowell JA (1980) SEM of micro-corrosion casts. Scanning Microsc 2:89–106Google Scholar
  18. Hodde KC, Steeber DA, Albrecht RM (1990) Advances in corrosion casting methods. Scanning Microsc 4:693–704PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Karr-Dullien V, Bloomquist EI, Beringer T, El-Bermani AW (1981) Arterial morphometry in neonatal and infant spontaneously hypertensive rats. Blood Vessels 18:253–262PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Kazimierczak J (1980) A study by scanning (SEM) and transmission (TEM) electron microscopy of the rat glomerular capillaries in developing rat kidney. Cell Tissue Res 212:241–255CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Khera KS (1981) Common fetal aberrations and their teratological significance: a review. Fund Appl Toxicol 1:13–18Google Scholar
  22. Kondo S, Suzuki R, Yamazi K, Aihara K (1993) Application of corrosion cast method for scanning electron microscopic observation of mouse embryo vasculature. J Electron Microsc 42:12–23Google Scholar
  23. Kristek F, Gerova M (1996) Long-term NO synthase inhibition affects heart weight and geometry of coronary and carotid arteries. Physiol Res 45:361–367PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Moffat DB (1959) Developmental changes in the aortic arch system of the rat. Am J Anat 105:1–35CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Momma K, Ando M (1994a) Fetal cardiovascular morphology of interrupted aortic arch type B in rats. Fetal Diagn Ther 9:44–52PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Momma K, Ando M (1994b) In situ morphology of fetal aortic isthmus following ductal constriction in rats. Fetal Diagn Ther 9:53–61PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Momma K, Ando M (1995) Fetal in situ cardiovascular and pulmonary morphology of vascular ring due to left aortic arch and right ductus arteriosus in rats. Fetal Diagn Ther 10:41–47PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Momma K, Ando M, Takao A, Wu FF (1990) Fetal cardiovascular cross-sectional morphology of tetralogy of Fallot in rats. Fetal Diagn Ther 5:196–204PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Momma K, Ito T, Ando M (1993) In situ morphology of the aorta and common iliac artery in the fetal and neonatal rat. Pediatr Res 33:302–306PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Monie IW, Takacs E, Warkany J (1966) Transpositon of the great vessels and other cardiovascular abnormalities in rat fetuses by trypan blue. Anat Rec 156:175–190CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Moscoso G, Pexieder T (1990) Variations in microscopic anatomy and ultrastructure of human embryonic hearts subjected to three different modes of fixation. Res Practice 186:768–774Google Scholar
  32. Nakamura H (1988) Electron microscopic study of the prenatal development of the thoracic aorta in the rat. Am J Anat 181:406–418CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Nambo T (1990) A method to inject the umbilical vein of the rat. Reprod Toxicol 4:203–208CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Navarro M, Carratero A, Canut L, Perez-Aparicio FJ, Cristofol C, Manesse M, Sautet J, Arboix M, Ruberte J (1997) Injection technique and scanning electron microscopic study of the arterial pattern of the 20 gestation days (G20) rat fetus. Lab Anim 31:1434.1–1434.11Google Scholar
  35. Nelson ML, Sparks CD (2001) Unusual aortic arch variation: distal origin of common carotid arteries. Clin Anat 14:62–65CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Nikol S, Esin S, Nekolla S, Huehns TY, Schirmer J, Schwaiger M, Hofling B (1998) Use of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging angiography to follow-up arterial remodeling in an animal model. Angiology 49:251–258PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Nishida A, Kobayashi T, Ariyuki F (1996) Developmental toxicocity of concanavalin A in rats: association with restricted migration of neural crest cells. Food Chem Toxicol 34:701–708CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Noden D, De Lahunta A (1985) The embryology of domestic animals. Williams& Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  39. Olivetti G, Anversa P, Melissari M, Loud AV (1980) Morphometric study of early postnatal development of the thoracic aorta in the rat. Circ Res 47:417–424PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Palmer AK (1997) Incidence of sporadic malformations, anomalies and variations in random bred laboratory animals. In: Neubert D, Merker HJ, Kwasigroch TE, Kreft R, Bedürftig A (eds) Methods in prenatal toxicology. George Thieme Publishers, Stuttgart, pp 52–71Google Scholar
  41. Patan S, Alvarez MM, Schittny JC, Burri PH (1992) Intussusceptive microvascular growth: a common alternative to capillary sprouting. Arch Histol Cytol 55:65–75PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Pinto YM, Pinto SJ, Paul M, Merker HJ (1998) The electron microscopic morphology of the common carotid artery in rats. Ann Anat 180:223–235Google Scholar
  43. Popesko P, Ratjová V, Horák J (1992) A colour atlas of anatomy of small laboratory animals, vol 2 Rat. Wolfe Publishing, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. Qi BQ, Merei J, farmer P, Hasthorpe S, Myers NA, Beasley SW, Hutson JM (1997) Cardiovascular malformations in rat fetuses with oesophageal atresia and tracheo-oesophageal fistula induce by adriamycin. Pediatr Surg Int 12:556–564CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Rakusan K, Wicker P (1990) Morphometry of the small arteries and arterioles in the rat heart: effects of chronic hypertension and exercise. Cardiovasc Res 24:278–284PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Ratajska A, Fiejka E (1999) Prenatal development of coronary arteries in the rat: morphologic patterns. Anat Embryol 200:533–540CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Rottenberg N, Minciu E, Rottenberg F, Matusz P, Poenaru D, Corneanu D, Valceanu D (1985) The vascular morphometry of some brain stem parts. Morphol Embryol 31:239–243Google Scholar
  48. Rowett HGQ (1974) Vascular system. In: The rat as a small mammal, 3rd edn. John Murray, London, pp 38–46Google Scholar
  49. Scott WJ, Resnick E, Hummler H, Clozel JP, Bürgin H (1997) Cardiovascular alterations in rat fetuses exposed to calcium channel blockers. Reprod Toxicol 11:207–214CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Smith EM, Calhoun ML (1968) The microscopic anatomy of the white rat. Iowa State University Press, AmesGoogle Scholar
  51. Stuckhardt JL, Poppe SM (1984) Fresh visceral examination of rat and rabbit fetuses used in teratogenicity testing. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 4:181–184PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Wingerd BD (1988) The circulatory system. In: Rat dissection manual. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp 52–62Google Scholar
  53. Yoshida S, Chiba J (1992) An improved method for preparing microvascular corrosion casts of rat embryos. Scanning Microsc 6:457–462PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Zamir M, Brown N (1982) Arterial branching in various parts of the cardiovascular system. Am J Anat 163:295–307CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Zamir M, Sinclair P (1990) Continuum analysis of common branching patterns in the human arch of the aorta. Anat Embryol 181:31–36CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Zamir M, Sinclair P (1991) Origin of the brachiocephalic trunk, left carotid, and left subclavian arteries from the arch of the human aorta. Invest Radiol 26:128–133PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Zamir M, Sinclair P, Wannacott TH (1992) Relation between diameter and flow in major branches of the arch of the aorta. J Biomech 25:1303–1310CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Monnereau
    • 1
  • A. Carretero
    • 2
  • S. Berges
    • 1
  • M. Navarro
    • 2
  • M. Leonard
    • 3
  • F. Lyazrhi
    • 4
  • J. Sautet
    • 1
  • J. Ruberte
    • 2
  1. 1.UP d’Anatomie-EmbryologieEcole Nationale VétérinaireToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Group of Vascular Morphogenesis, Sanitat i Anatomia Animals, Facultat de VeterinàriaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Centre de RecherchePfizerAmboiseFrance
  4. 4.UP de Biomathématiques-BiostatistiquesEcole Nationale VétérinaireToulouseFrance

Personalised recommendations