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Three-dimensional aspects of blood vessels in thyroids from normal, low iodine diet-treated, TSH-treated, and PTU-treated rats


Three-dimensional images of blood vessels in thyroid glands from normal, low iodine diet-treated, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)-treated and propylthiouracil (PTU)-treated rats were investigated by use of the corrosion-cast method. The vascular casts made by the injection of methacrylate resin were observed with the scanning electron microscope. In normal animals, each follicle is surrounded by a clearly defined basket-like capillary network, which is generally independent of adjacent networks, though a few anastomoses or common capillaries are sometimes seen. In low iodine diet-treated or TSH-treated animals, the capillaries in the basket-like network become markedly dilated and fuse with one another. Though the vascular casts of PTU-treated animals are similar to those of low iodine diet-treated or TSH-treated ones in some aspects, most basket-like networks become distorted and irregular in shape, and the capillaries are heterogeneously dilated and show many buds, branches and anastomoses. We consider that these peculiar changes in the thyroid of the PTU-treated animals are due not only to the elevation of serum TSH but also to other unknown factors. It is clear that the distribution and morphology of the thyroid capillaries are extremely affected and changed by functional states of the gland.

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Correspondence to Prof. Hisao Fujita.

Additional information

This study was supported in part by grant from the Research Fund of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture, Japan

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Imada, M., Kurosumi, M. & Fujita, H. Three-dimensional aspects of blood vessels in thyroids from normal, low iodine diet-treated, TSH-treated, and PTU-treated rats. Cell Tissue Res. 245, 291–296 (1986).

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Key words

  • Thyroid gland
  • Corrosion casts
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Rat