Scanning Microscopy


Corrosion casting and viewing of replicas with the scanning electron microscope is an excellent way to study the microvascular structure of the lung. This method can demonstrate aspects of the three-dimensional relationships, branching patterns, maximum diameters, arterio-venous connections, unusual sized and shaped capillaries, development and growth, neovascular structures and changes in development and disease better than any other means. Comparisons can be made in many experimental conditions and fundamental information obtained to answer physiologic questions. This paper reviews how the lung microvasculature has been studied by corrosion casting and scanning electron microscopy and indicates new areas where investigation might be pursued in humans and laboratory mammals. Although this technique has already greatly expanded our perception of the microcirculation, it should continue to be developed and become an even more valuable tool to study questions about the pulmonary vascular system.

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