Angioarchitecture of the rabbit extrahepatic bile ducts and gallbladder


  • Hanna Jackowiak,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Animal Anatomy, Agricultural University of Poznan, Poznan, Poland
    • Department of Animal Anatomy, Agricultural University of Poznan, ul. Wojska Polskiego 71C, PL 60-625 Poznan, Poland
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  • Alois Lametschwandtner

    1. Blood Vessel and Muscle Research Group, Department of Organismic Biology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
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The angioarchitecture of extrahepatic bile ducts and gallbladder of the miniature rabbit was studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of vascular corrosion casts. Light microscopy of Masson-stained, paraffin-embedded transverse tissue sections served to attribute cast vascular structures to defined layers of bile ducts and gallbladder. In all segments of the bile tract, a mucosal and a subserosal vascular network was found. In glandular segments, the mucosal network was composed of a meshwork of subepithelial and circumglandular capillaries, which serve the mucosal functions. Differences in the angioarchitectonic patterns existed only in the subserosal networks as hepatic ducts own one supplying arteriole only, while the common bile duct owns a well-defined rete arteriosum subserosum. A well-developed dense subserosus venous plexus was present throughout the bile tract. Vascular patterns of the gallbladder body resembled those of the bile duct, whereby the dense subserous venous plexus was located close to the mucosal capillary network. The subserosal network in the neck of the gallbladder resembled that of the cystic duct. Spatial changes of the mucosal vascular network during volume changes of the gallbladder were documented. Measurements from tissue sections revealed bile tract diameters of 220–400 μm (extrahepatic ducts), 500–650 μm (cystic duct), and 4–6 mm (common bile duct). Data gained from high-powered SEM micrographs of vascular corrosion casts revealed vessel diameters of 200 μm (cystic artery), 90–110 μm (cystic vein), 30–40 μm (feeding arterioles), and 25–110 μm (subserosal venules). Crypt diameters in the filled gallbladder were 300–1,500 μm; those in the contracted organ were 100–600 μm. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.