A new method to make vascular and bronchial casts of voluminous organs

Eur J Morphol. 2003 Dec;41(5):161-5.


Vascular and bronchial endocasts represent a useful instrument to study the ramification pattern of these structures. Casts have been made from different materials, such as waxes in ancient times and, more recently, silicon-like compounds or resins (see e.g. Mercox) to study the finest details. These techniques are valuable for small specimens, whereas they are inadequate for very large organs, where technical difficulties require the development of specific instrumentation. In this study we present a new simple injection technique, based on expanded polyurethane, which allows preparing vascular and bronchial trees for macroscopic and microscopic studies. The new injection technique is very easy to carry out, since the propulsion is provided by compressed air, and it does not require special instrumentation. To this aim, endocasts of the entire tracheal-bronchial tree and casts of vascular kidney from different animals were prepared. The specimens have a very low weight, show the finest ramifications, and are very stable and resistant to mechanical stress. To examine microscopically the details of the casts, specimens from the kidney cast were also analyzed by scanning electron microscopy, revealing good preservation of microcirculatory structures, functional sphincters and endothelial cell impressions. Therefore, the technique may be useful for macroscopic studies of large specimens, retaining sufficiently fine details.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / ultrastructure*
  • Bronchi / blood supply
  • Bronchi / ultrastructure*
  • Cattle
  • Corrosion Casting / methods*
  • Kidney / blood supply
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Microcirculation / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Polyurethanes*
  • Sheep
  • Swine


  • Polyurethanes