Capillary ultrastructure in human metastatic brain tumors

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✓ The ultrastructural characteristics of blood vessels within 18 metastatic neoplasms of the brain have been studied. The abnormal permeability to protein-bound tracers was found to be related to defective capillary endothelium. Abnormalities include gap functions, fenestrations of membranes, and open normal junctions. The abnormal capillaries had the character of capillaries from current tissue. Endothelium cell abnormalities were not found in surrounding edematous brain.

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Address reprint requests to: Don M. Long, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 601 North Broadway, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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Figures

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    Electron micrograph demonstrating a gap junction (arrows). The lumen of the vessel (L) is in direct communication with an extracellular space (EC) and abnormal basement membrane (BM). There is no evidence of junctional substructure. × 57,000.

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    Electron micrograph showing leaflets of islands of cytoplasm connected by single strands of plasma membrane (arrows). This configuration of capillary wall has been termed a “fenestrated membrane.” L = lumen, EC = extracellular space. × 64,000.

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    Electron micrograph showing that the capillary lumen (L) is in direct communication with an expanded extracellular space (EC) through an open junction (arrows) between endothelial cells. × 55,000.

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    High-magnification electron micrograph of two leaflets of capillary endothelium (EN). The capillary lumen is denoted by L. Arrows demonstrate regions in which junction closure may be present × 245,000.

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    Electron micrograph showing the hyperchromatic capillary endothelium (arrows) filled with vesicles of relatively uniform size and shape. An erythrocyte (ER) fills the capillary lumen. The greatly expanded extracellular space (EC) is filled with collagen. × 14,500.

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    High-magnification electron micrograph of the vesicles found within these tumors. The vesicles present no special characteristics. BM = basement membrane, L = lumen. + 100,000.

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