Microvascularization of the pineal gland in the freshwater turtle, Pseudemys scripta elegans (Reptilia): A scanning electron microscopic study of vascular corrosion casts


Address reprint requests to Prof. Mag. Dr. Alois Lametschwandtner, Zoologisches Institut der Universitat Salzburg, Abteilung fur Experimentelle Zoologie, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, A-5020 Salzburg, Austria.


Abstract: Gross supply, microvascular patterns, and drainage routes of the pineal gland and its vascular relations with associated structures (dorsal sac, paraphysis, choroid plexus of the third ventricle) were studied by scanning electron microscopy of microvascular corrosion casts in 10 specimens of the freshwater turtle, Pseudemys scripta elegans. Light microscopy of tissue sections (one transverse and one longitudinal series) served to attribute cast vascular territories to anatomical structures. The tubular pineal gland body is supplied bilaterally by small branches of the saccular artery, a branch of the lateral choroidal artery. Branches of the diencephalic artery supply the pineal stalk. The pineal gland microvascular bed is a two-dimensional network that embraces the tubular gland. The network is made up mainly of venules with few true capillaries. Venules draining the ventral surface of the pineal gland body join those coming from the choroid plexus of the third ventricle and drain into the sagittal sinus. The less dense vascular network embracing the dorsal surface of the pineal body drains directly into the sagittal sinus. The pineal stalk drains into the diencephalic vein or directly into the sagittal sinus. No efferent (venous) vascular connections capable as transport route for pineal secretions toward surrounding telencephalic, diencephalic, or mesencephalic areas were found.