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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Aug;291(2):H876-85. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Functional arrangement of rat diaphragmatic initial lymphatic network.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia Strutturale e Funzionale, Universit√† degli Studi dell'Insubria, Via J.H. Dunant 5, 21100 Varese, Italy.

Abstract

Fluid and solute flux between the pleural and peritoneal cavities, although never documented under physiological conditions, might play a relevant role in pathological conditions associated with the development of ascitis and pleural effusion and/or in the processes of tumor dissemination. To verify whether a pleuroperitoneal flux might take place through the diaphragmatic lymphatic network, the transdiaphragmatic pressure gradient (Delta P(TD)) was measured in five spontaneously breathing anesthetized rats. Delta P(TD) was -1.93 cmH2O (SD 0.59) and -3.1 cmH2O (SD 0.82) at end expiration and at end inspiration, respectively, indicating the existence of a pressure gradient directed from the abdominal to the pleural cavity. Morphometrical analysis of the diaphragmatic lymphatic network was performed in the excised diaphragm of three additional rats euthanized with an anesthesia overdose. Optical and electron microscopy revealed that lymphatic submesothelial lacunae and lymphatic capillaries among the skeletal muscles fibers show the ultrastructural features of the so-called initial lymphatic vessels, namely, a discontinuous basal lamina and anchoring filaments linking the outer surface of the endothelial cells to connective tissue or to muscle fibers. Primary unidirectional valves in the wall of the initial lymphatics allow entrance of serosal fluid into the lymphatic network preventing fluid backflow, while unidirectional intraluminar valves in the transverse vessels convey lymph centripetally toward central collecting ducts. The complexity and anatomical arrangement of the two valves system suggests that, despite the existence of a favorable Delta P(TD), in the physiological condition no fluid bulk flow takes place between the pleural and peritoneal cavity through the diaphragmatic lymphatic network.

PMID:
16489104
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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