Only topographic and distributional data are available on the lymphatic outflow vessels of the human heart. Here we describe their structural and ultrastructural features. Fragments of the atria, ventricles and fat surrounding the major coronary branches were obtained from hearts of dilated cardiomyopathy patients. Serial semithin sections were observed under light microscopy and used for tridimensional reconstructions. Ultrathin sections were observed by transmission electron microscopy. Precollectors, the initial lymphatic outflow routes of the heart, are small valved vessels with irregular, discontinuous musculature. They originate in the subepicardial region from a network of epicardial, and from scattered myocardial absorbing lymphatic vessels and drain into the collecting vessels accompanying the major coronary branches. Collecting vessels are larger but structurally similar to precollectors. Wall musculature is independent of the size of the vessel. Their ultrastructure is the same as that of precollectors. Endothelial cells have many Weibel-Palade bodies, cytoplasmic filaments and focal adhesions. The basement membrane is discontinuous and anchoring filaments are frequent and conspicuous. The subendothelial layer contains much elastin. Human heart collecting vessels and precollectors may only be distinguished by their size. The scarcity of musculature suggests that lymph progression in this district is mainly ensured by cardiac revolutions. Their ultrastructural features are determined by adaptation to dynamic forces. The architecture of these vessels (random, disorderly, discontinuous, lacking any exact plan) and their large variations in caliber are in line with the ontogenetic hypothesis that peripheral lymphatic vessels originate from the coalescence of mesenchymal lacunae.
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|Titolo:||Lymphatic vessels of the human heart: precollectors and collecting vessels. A morphostructural study.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|