Morphometrical analysis of the aging process in human arteries and aorta

Acta Anat (Basel). 1980;106(1):35-44. doi: 10.1159/000145167.


Ultrastructural and morphometrical studies were conducted on vascular tissue from 205 human Japanese specimens ranging in age from 15 weeks' gestation to 90 years. Comparison of aorta size with overall body length by allometry revealed that the aging aorta has growth and involution stages comparable to other organs, and that progressive increase in aortic diameter was the major involutional change. The cellular and extracellular components of the medial sections of thoracic and abdominal aorta, renal artery, and superior mesenteric artery were quantitated from electron micrographs and compared at different ages. It was found that the renal artery rapidly accumulated extracellular material with increasing age; in the aortic tissue, however, the peak occurrence of extracellular material occurred at pubescence. Ultrastructural studies revealed a general tendency of aging medial smooth muscle cells to transform from a smooth, rounded morphology to become irregularly shaped.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Aorta / ultrastructure*
  • Aorta, Abdominal / ultrastructure
  • Aorta, Thoracic / ultrastructure
  • Arteries / ultrastructure*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mesenteric Arteries / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / ultrastructure
  • Renal Artery / ultrastructure