Scanning Microscopy


All large arteries contain elastin, collagen, and muscle which can be seen with light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Elastin forms an internal elastic lamina (IEL) in all arteries, but also forms multiple fenestrated sheets in the media of the aorta and other large arteries. The fenestrations in the media are larger than those in the IEL. The adventitial elastin is more fibrous and often contains tubular elastin surrounding vasa vasorum when prepared by removing all non-elastin by placing the aorta in 0.1 N NaOH at 70-75°C for five hours. The fenestrations are larger near branches and in an experimentally created poststenotic dilatation. Atherosclerosis appears associated with both new elastin formation in early atherosclerosis and elastolysis in late disease.

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