Scanning Microscopy


A widely used model for investigating basic tumor characteristics and different treatment modalities preclinically is the immune-deficient, athymic nude mouse. This model offers many morphological parallelisms to the clinical situation.

The aim of this study is to demonstrate the vascularization pattern of xenotransplanted human melanomas and sarcomas using different methods. Xenotransplanted tumors of 62 congenital thymusaplastic nude mice were examined ultrastructurally and topographically after corrosion cast and tissue preparation. Quantitative measurements of tumors injected with India ink were carried out to obtain comparable information on the vascular densities in the tumors.

Quantitative measurements showed that there is no zonal, topographic arrangement of the vascular densities. Comparisons of the vascular densities in the centers of tumors with the densities in the periphery showed an extreme heterogeneity in tumor vessel distribution, which does not generally support the idea of a better vascularisation in the tumor periphery.

Neither in the periphery nor in the center of the tumor regular vessels are to be seen consisting of intimal, medial and adventitial layers. Even the largest peripheral vessels, which often take a tortuous course, consist mainly of an endothelial layer and some perivascular connective tissue only. Areas with high vascular densities could be seen just beneath areas almost free of vessels. Besides endothelial-lined vessels numerous irregular, tumor cell-lined sinusoids are visible both in sarcomas and melanomas. The morphology of the vessels found scanning electron microscopically is generally in agreement with many features described transmission electron microscopically.

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