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Ann Anat. 2006 Nov;188(6):529-33.

The blood vessel system in the periodontal ligament of the equine cheek teeth--part I: The spatial arrangement in layers.

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Institute of Anatomy, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bischofsholer Damm 15, D-30173 Hannover, Germany.


Corrosion casts of blood vessels in the periodontium of cheek teeth from eight horses were observed three-dimensionally with a dissection microscope. Selected specimens were examined in a scanning electron microscope. Periodontal blood vessels communicated with those from the gingiva, the alveolar bone, and the apical region. In the upper jaw, there were anastomoses with the blood vessels of the mucosa of the maxillary sinus. The periodontal vascular system was organized in two or three layers. The peripheral layer was mainly composed of large venules, the inner one consisted of capillaries. In the intermediate layer, blood vessels were post-capillary venules. This layer was developed only in horses under 10 years of age. In all layers the vascular orientation was mainly occluso-apical, this was defined as the standard pattern. There were many variations displayed in different courses of certain blood vessels. The vascular organization is discussed with regard to the specialized functions of the periodontal ligament (PDL). The wide vessels of the outer layer are thought to play a mechanical role as part of a shock absorbing system. The capillaries of the inner layer meet nutritional requirements. The disappearance of the intermediate layer in horses older than 10 years is taken as an adaptation to the remodelling of the PDL. Modifications in the standard pattern of vascular arrangements are also interpreted as adaptations to life-long changes in the periodontal space. Anastomoses between the periodontal vasculature and the blood vessels of the maxillary sinus indicate that periodontal disease may be transferred into the sinus.

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