Abstract BACKGROUND: Little is known about the morphology of precollectors, the lymphatic vessels connecting the absorbing and the collecting vessels, which are regarded as the initial drainage routes of lymph. The aim of this study was to describe the structural features of human precollectors. METHODS: Samples of fat from around the saphenous veins were obtained from patients undergoing varicotomy, and serial sections were observed under light and transmission electron microscopy. Tridimensional reconstructions were also obtained by computer analysis. RESULTS: Precollectors were characterized by an irregular and discontinuous arrangement of smooth muscle cells in their wall. This arrangement was unrelated to the site of valves. When present, muscular elements were arranged helicoidally, as shown in tridimensional reconstructions. Under transmission electron microscopy, the endothelium of precollectors was similar to that of absorbing lymphatic vessels, irrespective of the presence of smooth muscle cells, and was thin, rich in pinocytotic vesicles, supported by a discontinous basal lamina, and connected by anchoring filaments to the surrounding connective tissue. Myoendothelial contacts were frequent. Valves were similar to those of collecting vessels, except for the presence of numerous zonulae adherentes connecting the characteristic "tip cells" of the free edge. CONCLUSIONS: Human thigh precollectors are characterized by the alternation of portions with a well-developed muscular coat and portions with an absorbing structure. These morphological features suggest that the precollectors contribute to fluid absorption and lymph propulsion. The frequent myoendothelial contacts suggest that smooth muscle contraction is regulated locally.
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|Titolo:||The structure of superficial lymphatics in the human thigh: precollectors.|
|Rivista:||THE ANATOMICAL RECORD|
|Citazione:||Sacchi, G., Weber, E., Agliano', M., N., R., & Comparini, L. (1997). The structure of superficial lymphatics in the human thigh: precollectors. THE ANATOMICAL RECORD, 247, 53-62.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|