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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 8 - Cardiovascular System

Plate 8.161 Vena Cava

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


Plate 8.161 Vena Cava

Human, 10% formalin, Weigert's* elastic tissue stain and phloxine, 162 x.

The superior and inferior venae cavae are examples of large veins. The walls of large veins have three tunicae: intima, media, and adventitia.

The tunica intima is thick compared to that of other veins. A delicate internal elastic membrane may be seen in it.

In the tunica media, smooth muscle fibers are lacking or markedly reduced. This tunica is relatively small.

The tunica adventitia is the thickest of all tunicae. It consists of loose connective tissue and contains longitudinally arranged bundles of smooth muscle as well as thick elastic fibers. The vasa vasorum (blood vessels of blood vessels) that nourish the wall of the vein are found in this tunica and may penetrate into the media or even the intima.

*Weigert was a nineteenth-century German pathologist.

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