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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 3 - Connective Tissue

Plate 3.35: Elastic Membranes; Collagenous Fibers

Aorta

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


ELASTIC MEMBRANES
COLLAGENOUS FIBERS
Aorta

Plate 3.35: Elastic Membranes; Collagenous Fibers

Rat, Helly's fluid, Mallory's stain (A),
Mallory-azan stain (B), 162 x.

See Plates 152 and 153 to compare the structure of this rat aorta with those of rabbit and man.

Elastic membranes: Elastic membranes are a striking feature of the aorta. Located within the tunica media of the vessel wall, they serve as "shock absorbers." Elastic arteries are subject to the greatest and most rapid changes in blood pressure. The elastic membranes or laminae are separated from each other by smooth muscle fibers, fibroblasts, and collagenous and reticular connective tissue fibers. Note that the elastic laminae are unstained by the methods used here. Elastic tissue stains can be seen in Plates 133, 152, 154, and 156.

Collagen: Primarily located external to the outermost elastic lamina, it stains a bright blue with Mallory and Mallory-azan stains. Note the collagenous connective tissue immediately adjacent to the elastic laminae. The methods used here selectively stain collagenous fibers. Compare with Plate 34.

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