Vascular invasion of the epithyseal growth plate: Analysis of metaphyseal capillary ultrastructure and growth dynamics
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Metaphyseal blood vessels which invade the calcifying epiphyseal growth plate were examined by a variety of techniques to determine their morphology, cell division, and growth patterns as they relate to endochondral ossification. Four regions of these vessels were characterized: 1) sprout tips--the terminal ends of the capillary sprouts which impinge upon the hypertrophic chondrocytes of the growth plate; 2) region of extended calcified cartilage--those deeper vessels within the metaphysis which are surrounded by an extracellular matrix predominantly composed of extended septa of calcified cartilage; 3) region of bone deposition--further still from the epiphysis these microvessels are contained within a network of active bone deposition laid upon a scaffold of calcified cartilage; 4) region of primary vessels--at a distance of 350-500 microns from the epiphysis are dilated vessels with one or two layers of smooth muscle in their walls, which supply and drain the metaphyseal capillary plexus. The sprout tips are continuous blind-ended vessels lined with an attenuated endothelium with no underlying basement membrane. Dividing endothelial cells are most frequently found in the region of bone deposition 175-200 microns behind the apices of the growing sprout tips. A time-coursed, autoradiographic examination of cytokinesis revealed radio-labelled endothelial cells to appear at the epiphysis after a 24 hr period. The metaphyseal capillary sprouts represent a continuous, unidirectional angiogenic vascular network which grows by elongation from the region of bone deposition; this region remains a fixed distance behind the sprout tips. These findings are discussed in light of the growth dynamics between this vascular plexus and the epiphyseal growth plate.
has subject area