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      Scanning Electron Microscopy of Elastic Networks from the Bifurcation Region of Guinea Pig Carotid Arteries

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          We isolated the elastic network from the bifurcation region of guinea pig carotid arteries by treatment with hot alkali and examined its adventitial and adluminal components by SEM. The thickness of networks from common and external carotid arteries averaged 87.5 µm (±6.9 SD) and from the carotid sinus averaged 46.8 µm (±2.4 SD). The networks consisted of a mesh of elastic tissue that became a continuous sheet, 2 µm thick, which formed the internal elastic lamina (IEL). The IEL was fenestrated; the perforations varied in number among the vessels (occipital > carotid sinus > common = external carotid), and some were spanned by delicate elastic fibers. The IEL’s adluminal surface was a smooth membranous sheet, which in some specimens bore unidirectional loose fibers, or was composed of tightly fused bundles of uni- or multidirectional fibers. The interior region of the cranial carotid sinus contained unique blister-like structures and dense clusters of fenestrations, together with a honeycomb-like mesh near the ascending pharyngeal artery. The outer, adventitial elastic layer consisted of a network of loose elastic fibers that were fused with the inner layers. We conclude that the structural differences noted among the common and external carotid arteries and carotid sinus are related to the sinus’s unique pressure-sensing functions.

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          Author and article information

          J Vasc Res
          Journal of Vascular Research
          S. Karger AG
          23 September 2008
          : 25
          : 2
          : 63-74
          aFaculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and bDepartment of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
          158720 Blood Vessels 1988;25:63–74
          © 1988 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Page count
          Pages: 12
          Research Paper


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