Blood and lymphatic microvessels (MVs) ensure a supply of substances to the organ cells and removal of catabolic wastes into circulation. In endocrine glands, MVs are also involved in transport of hormonal molecules to systemic blood. These functions of MVs are vitally important, and many investigators study MVs in endocrine organs, including thyroid gland.
Stereological methods are frequently used to determine 3D features of MVs (number, sizes, density, etc.) on their images of lower dimension, usually 2D sectioning profiles. Without these methods, much valuable information can be lost about correlations between structure and function in endocrine glands.
We review stereological methods designed recently by our company for studying MVs. These methods include: (i) the method for defining 3D MV sizes, with ellipticity of the MVs being taken into consideration, (ii) the method for estimating the MV angular distributions in 3D space, and (iii) the method for determining MV spatial arrangement pattern based on the second-order stereology parameter (pair correlation function). All these methods meet to the requirements of novelty and inventive step used in patenting procedure (patents RU2211487, RU2218601, RU2219583; application RU2003131039, procedure passed). The methods were applied in the study of thyroid blood MVs. The thyroid perifollicular capillaries were revealed to be elliptical (typical 3D axial ratio was equal to 1.6), with their angular distributions being isotropic (Krasnoperov & Gerasimov Exp Biol Med 2003 228 (1) 8492). Spatial arrangement of the capillaries was inhibitory, so that the capillaries tend to avoid each other in the gland volume (Krasnoperov & Stoyan Ann Biomed Eng 2006 34 (5) 810822). The designed set of the stereological methods is instrumental in microanatomy-based studying of microcirculatory networks physiology in endocrine organs.
03 - 07 May 2008
European Society of Endocrinology