The intracellular structure of endothelium lining vein-to-artery grafts in rats was analysed, using transmission electron microscopy and morphometry, to determine the ultrastructural adaptations of endothelial cells in this altered vascular environment. Autogenous 4-mm sections of iliolumbar veins were inserted microsurgically into the left common iliac arteries of 16 male Wistar rats. At 3, 6, 26 and 52 weeks the cytoplasmic-vesicular, mitochondrial and rough endoplasmic reticular contents of endothelial cells lining the grafts, the opposite iliac arteries and the remaining ilio-lumbar veins were analysed morphometrically. There was a significant increase in the amount of all these cytoplasmic structures in endothelial cells at 3, 6 and 26 weeks; at 52 weeks there was also a significant increase in the volumes of mitochondria and cytoplasmic vesicles, but not in rough endoplasmic reticulum. It was concluded that the ultrastructure of endothelial cells lining these grafts is changed chronically after graft insertion, and we propose that this may be attributable to altered haemodynamic stresses within the graft.
|Journal||Anatomy and Embryology|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|