Michael P. Osborne, Susan J. Haddon, Kim J. Worton, Anthony J. Spencer, William G. Starkey, Dawn Thornber, John Stephen

A Study of the Microcirculation in Whole Villi of Neonatal Mice Using a Peroxidase Histochemical Staining Method

  • Gastroenterology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health

SummaryThe anatomy of the microcirculation of intestinal villi from the upper, middle, and lower small intestine of neonatal mice from 8 to 14 days old was studied using a histochemical peroxidase technique that specifically stained erythrocytes. Over 8–14 days, there was little chronological variation between the same regions of gut; the exception was the lower intestine, which, in younger mice, was noticeably less well perfused with erythrocytes. Vascular beds in the middle and lower intestine comprised a hairpin loop with cross‐connections. In the upper intestine, the capillary beds were generally more complex, particularly in apical regions of the villi. Most villi were well perfused with erythrocytes, but a minority (<10%) contained considerably fewer red cells, some to the point of being totally ischemic. Other villi (<5%) were hyperemic, and the vascular beds packed and engorged with red cells. Usually, the packing density (hematocrit) of red cells within blood vessels increased progressively from villus base to apex. Red‐cell deformation was more prevalent at villus apices, with marked crenation in some villi, yet in the basal regions of these same villi, the red cells were of normal discoid shape. The peroxidase staining technique produces a reliable histological picture of red cells circulating through villi. It also reveals differential perfusion of erythrocytes between and within villi, and that blood vessels pass through hypertonic zones in the apical regions of villi.

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