Ultrastructural and morphometric investigation of human brain capillaries in normal and peritumoral tissues

Ultrastruct Pathol. Jan-Feb 1997;21(1):41-9. doi: 10.3109/01913129709023246.


Capillaries of peritumoral and normal brain tissues were ultrastructurally and morphometrically investigated to evaluate the changes in peritumoral capillaries connected with the tumor-associated vasogenic edema. The endothelial cells of peritumoral capillaries showed varying thickness, electron-lucent cytoplasm, and structurally normal tight junctions. The basal lamina was thickened, rarefied, and vacuolated. The pericytes were provided with pinocytotic vesicles and phagocytic bodies. The astrocytic glia appeared empty or swollen, with few glycogen granules and a disarranged cytoskeleton; well-preserved glia was occasionally observed. The brain tissue was slightly edematous. No statistically significant differences were observed between normal and peritumoral capillaries as regards diameter, wall thickness, endothelial thickness, and endothelial vesicle density. Instead, the peritumoral capillaries displayed three times as many endothelial surface-connected vesicles, a markedly thicker basal lamina, and significantly reduced extension of pericytic and glial investments. The kind and severity of the vascular modifications, compared with the slight edematous appearance of the nervous tissue, strengthen the hypothesis that peritumoral capillaries could be involved in the edema resolution process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytoma / blood supply
  • Astrocytoma / ultrastructure
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / ultrastructure*
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Brain Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Capillaries / anatomy & histology
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Capillaries / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply
  • Parietal Lobe / ultrastructure