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Keywords:

  • blood vessels;
  • cervix;
  • corrosion-casting;
  • scanning electron microscopy;
  • uterus

Abstract

The aim of this study was to visualize and describe the vascular architecture of the vaginal and supravaginal parts of the human uterine cervix. Uteri collected at autopsy (n = 42) were perfused via the afferent vessels with fixative followed by Mercox resin. After polymerization of the resin, corrosion was performed. The obtained vascular casts of the cervix, visualizing all vessels including capillaries, were examined using scanning electron microscopy. Both in the vaginal and supravaginal parts of the cervix, four distinct vascular zones were distinguished – the outer zone containing large arteries and veins, the arteriole and venule zone, the endocervical mucosal capillaries zone and the pericanalar zone containing small veins and capillaries. In the pericanalar zone ran small veins, responsible for draining the mucosal capillaries. Both in the muscular layer, as well as in the pericanalar zone, arterioles and venules passed close to each other, often adjoining. This study introduces the idea of two systems responsible for draining blood from the mucosal capillaries. It is also the first to suggest the possible existence of a countercurrent transport between adjoining veins and arteries.