Scanning Microscopy


The microvasculature of human tongue papillae originating from 9 males and 6 females, aged 0.5 to 2 years was studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of vascular corrosion casts and by light microscopy (LM) of India ink injected specimens. All papillae showed a microvasculature characterized by primary, secondary and tertiary capillary loops. In the filiform papillae the loops were generally arranged in a corolla-like pattern with the tertiary loops demonstrating a hair-pin shape. The fungiform papillae showed basically a similar architectural pattern although the loops were somewhat more compact and complex in structure. A small, shallow depression of the tertiary loops at the top of these papillae was found to be occupied by a prominent rete ridge of the surface epithelium. There was a gradual transition from filiform to foliate papillae, the latter appearing as rows of coalesced filiform papillae. The circumvallate papillae easily identified by the surrounding furrow showed a rather complex and compact pattern of capillary loops of which typical hair-pin shaped tertiary loops dominated the periphery of the papilla. Small grooves or depressions in the vascular network were found to be occupied by rete ridges of the overlying mucosal epithelium.

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