Structural adaptations in the murine colon microcirculation associated with hapten-induced inflammation

Gut. 2007 Apr;56(4):518-23. doi: 10.1136/gut.2006.101824. Epub 2006 Nov 17.


Background: Blood flowing across the vascular endothelium creates wall shear stress, dependent on velocity of flow and vessel geometry, that tends to disrupt lymphocyte-endothelial cell adhesion.

Objective: The microcirculation in a murine model of acute colitis was investigated to identify structural adaptations during acute colitis that may facilitate transmigration.

Methods: In 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid-induced acute colitis, the infiltrating cells and colonic microcirculation was investigated by cellular topographic mapping, corrosion casting and three-dimensional scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Colonic blood velocimetry was performed using intravital microscopy.

Results: Clinical and histological parameters suggested a peak inflammatory response at 96 h (p<0.001). The infiltrating cells were spatially related to the mucosal capillary plexus by three-dimensional topographic mapping (p<0.001). In normal mice, corrosion casting and three-dimensional SEM showed a polygonal mucosal plexus supplied by ascending arteries and descending veins. After 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid stimulation, three-dimensional SEM showed preserved branch angles (p = 0.52) and nominal vessel lengths (p = 0.93), but a significantly dilated mucosal capillary plexus (p<0.001). Intravital microscopy of the mucosal plexus showed a greater than twofold decrease in the velocity of flow (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The demonstrable slowing of the velocity of flow despite an increase in volumetric flow suggests that these microvascular adaptations create conditions suitable for leucocyte adhesion and transmigration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / pathology*
  • Colitis / physiopathology
  • Colon / blood supply*
  • Colon / diagnostic imaging
  • Corrosion Casting
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Haptens
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Intestinal Mucosa / blood supply
  • Intestinal Mucosa / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microcirculation / diagnostic imaging
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Picryl Chloride
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Ultrasonography


  • Haptens
  • Picryl Chloride