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Abstract

Pulmonary arteries were fixed by perfusion under constant pressure and filled with rubber. The hardened rubber cast delineated the arterial bed, permitting dissection of axial vessels and all branches. Each segment was prepared for scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Branches arising at acute angles from the axial artery and the first two generations of its branches, regardless of diameter, had the same concentric muscle layer structure as parent vessels. Endothelial cells of the parent vessel were oriented into the ostia of these branches. Branches that came off the axial vessel or its branches at right angles had spiral muscle bundles and led to nonmuscular precapillary vessels. Right angle branches also had similar wall structure regardless of diameter. Near the ostia of right angle branches, endothelial cells of the parent vessels did not show orientation of their long axis into the branch lumens. It was concluded that branch arteries arising at acute angles are conduits which carry blood to distant parts of the lung while right angle branches are a histologically different group which distribute the blood to local capillary beds.