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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Aging Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00289

Solving an old dogma: is it an arteriole or a venule?

 Matt MacGregor Sharp1*, Theodore Criswell1,  Howard Dobson2, Ciara Finucane2,  Ajay Verma3 and  Roxana Carare1
  • 1University of Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 2Invicro (United States), United States
  • 3Biogen Idec (United States), United States

There are very few reliable methods in the literature to discern with certainty between cerebral arterioles and venules. Smooth muscle cells and pericytes are present in both arterioles and venules, so immunocytochemistry for markers specific to intramural cells is unreliable. This study employed transmission electron microscopy and a canine brain to produce robust criteria for the correct identification of cerebral arterioles and venules based on lumen:vessel wall area, tested against the less accurate lumen diameter:vessel wall thickness. We first used morphology of intramural cells to identify two distinct groups of vessels; group 1 with morphology akin to venules and group 2 with morphology akin to arterioles. We then quantitatively assessed these vessels for lumen:vessel wall area ratio and lumen diameter:wall thickness ratio. After assessing 112 vessels, we show two distinct groups of vessels that can be separated using lumen:vessel wall area (group 1, 1.89 -10.96 vs. group 2, 0.27-1.57 (p<0.001) but not using lumen diameter:vessel wall thickness where a substantial overlap in ranges between groups occurred (group 1, 1.58 to 22.66 vs. group 2, 1.40 to 11.63). We therefore conclude that lumen:vessel wall area is a more sensitive and preferred method for distinguishing cerebral arterioles from venules. The significance of this study is wide, as cerebral small vessel disease is a key feature of vascular dementia and understanding the pathogenesis relies in correct identification of vessels.

Keywords: Venules, Arterioles, intramural cell, Transmission electron microscopy, morphology

Received: 06 Aug 2019; Accepted: 07 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 MacGregor Sharp, Criswell, Dobson, Finucane, Verma and Carare. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Matt MacGregor Sharp, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom,