Myoendothelial junctions in human brain arterioles.
The purpose of this work was to determine whether myoendothelial junctions were present in human brains.
We examined vessels of approximately 30-70 microns i.d. from the brains of five autopsied adult patients. Myoendothelial junctions were found in vessels throughout this range, in both surface arterioles and penetrating arterioles, and were classified into three types. The number of myoendothelial junctions, expressed per unit length of vessels, was five times greater in the smallest than in the largest vessels. Thus, we found 1.62 junctions per millimeter length in arterioles less than 60 microns diameter and 0.31 junctions per millimeter length in arterioles greater than 220 microns diameter.
These findings provide an anatomic basis for communication between endothelial cells and smooth muscle of brain microvessels in humans. The function of this intercellular communication is not yet known; however, findings in animals suggest that endothelium may be required for propagated constriction in brain vessels. The existence of myoendothelial junctions in human brain provides a basis for the hypothesis that propagated constriction depends on transmission of some message or messenger between endothelial cells and muscle.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association