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Microcirculation of the pancreas in the rat and rabbit with special reference to the insulo-acinar portal system and emissary vein of the islet.

  • Ohtani, O
  • Ushiki, T
  • Kanazawa, H
  • Fujita, T
Published Article
Archivum histologicum Japonicum = Nihon soshikigaku kiroku
Publication Date
Mar 01, 1986
PMID: 3524504


Microcirculation of the pancreas in the rat and rabbit with special reference to the islets was studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of vascular corrosion casts, light microscopy (LM) of India ink-injected/cleared tissues, and intravital microscopy of in situ organs. The following observations were made: Approximately 10-20% of the total terminal arterioles supplied the islets, while the remainder directly supplied the exocrine pancreas. The vas afferens of the islets divided into sinusoidal capillaries with frequent U-shaped turns in the cortical A and D cell area of the islets, and their secondary branches supplied the core B cell area. Intravital microscopy confirmed that blood irrigated the cortex of the islets first and the core portion second. All islets observed possessed insulo-acinar portal vessels. About 60% of the islets in the rat possessed emissary veins leading directly into the systemic circulation, while in the rabbit, less than 5% of islets possessed emissary venules of small diameter. Thus, the well-developed emissary veins of the islets seemed characteristic of the rat, as compared with the rabbit and several other mammals examined previously. The insulo-acinar portal system seems to represent a short vascular route through which islet secretions are transported in high concentrations to the exocrine pancreas, there to exert their actions. The emissary veins of the islet seem to serve for the quick conveyance of insular secretions into general circulation. It is suggested that the pancreatic lobule is made up of subdivisions or microcirculatory units, each of which is supplied centrally by the insulo-acinar portal system, while peripherally the unit also receives direct branches of intralobular arterioles. The veins run the periphery of the unit. The occurrence of sphincters in the vas afferens and the emissary veins of the islets is suggested as being involved in the regulation of the islet blood flow.

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