Adrenal microvascularization in the common tree shrew (Tupaia glis) as revealed by scanning electron microscopy of vascular corrosion casts

Acta Anat (Basel). 1998;163(1):31-8. doi: 10.1159/000046443.


The blood supply of the adrenal gland in the common tree shrew (Tupaia glis) was studied by use of transmission electron microscopy and vascular corrosion cast/scanning electron microscopy techniques. It was found that the gland receives its blood supply from branches of the inferior phrenic, aorta and renal arteries. Upon reaching the gland, these arteries divide into cortical and medullary arteries. The cortical arteries give rise to the subcapsular capillary plexuses which partially enclose the clusters of cells in the zona glomerulosa (ZG) and appear as lobular-like microvascular networks before running among the cellular cords in the zona fasciculata (ZF) and zona reticularis (ZR). It was noted that the capillaries in ZG and ZR are with more anastomoses than those in the ZF. Capillaries from the ZR become the sinusoidal capillaries in the adrenal medulla before proceeding to the peripheral radicles of the central vein. The medullary arteries penetrate the adrenal cortex and occasionally give off small branches to supply the inner cortex, especially the ZR. Their main branches break up into small or conventional capillaries in the adrenal medulla. These capillaries drain the blood into the peripheral radicles of the central vein and medullary collecting veins which proceed further into a very large central vein. The present findings illustrate that the adrenal medulla receives two blood supplies that yield somewhat different influences upon the adrenal medulla. The portal blood vessel could not be illustrated in the tree shrew adrenal gland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex / blood supply*
  • Adrenal Cortex / ultrastructure
  • Adrenal Medulla / blood supply*
  • Adrenal Medulla / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Corrosion Casting
  • Female
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*