We studied the absorbing lymphatic peripheral vessels of the Peyer's patches of the small and large intestine of the rabbit by means of light microscopy after injection of Neoprene latex and transmission electron microscopy in order to highlight their topographical distributions to blood vessels as well as the morphologic mechanism of transendothelial passage of the lymphocytes to the lymph. The distribution of absorbing lymphatic vessels originates from the lacteal vessels and the subepithelial mucosal lymphatic network, which continue without interruptions and dilations into the vessels of the interfollicular area which are woven into basket-like networks entwining the medio-basal portion of each lymphoid follicle. The interfollicular area vessels then drain into the large vessels of the tunica submucosa, which in turn drain into the valved precollector vessels of the subserosa by way of intramuscular vessels. TEM revealed the absorbing lymphatic vessels to have a continuous endothelial wall without open junctions, fenestrations, and continuous basal lamina. We observed many lymphocytes wedged in the lymphatic endothelial wall. This underlines the different phases of their migration from the lymphoid tissue in the lumen of the lymphatic vessel. Results of ultrathin serial sections and three dimensional reconstruction of lymphatic vessel segments with included lymphocyte showed the transendothelial passage of lymphocyte, through the "intraendothelial channels."
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.