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Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2008 Jan;291(1):65-73.

Development of the mucosal vascular system in the distal colon of the fetal mouse.

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Department of Anatomy, The Jikei University School of Medicine, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


The formation of the crypt in the distal colon of the mouse was investigated in association with the development of vascular networks. For histological observation, 1-microm cross-sections were made from the distal colon of fetal mice in 13 to 18 days of gestation. Three-dimensional distributions of vascular networks in the organ were observed after perfusing fetuses with rhodamine isothiocyanate-labeled gelatin and immunostaining for laminin to examine the boundary between the epithelium and the mesenchyme. At 13 days of gestation, the distal colon and its epithelium formed a cylindrical tube and a loose primary plexus of vessels was built in the mesenchyme. In the distal colon of 15 days of gestation, the caudal portion began to form the crypt and the vascular plexus built up from a few layers was situated apart from the boundary between the epithelium and the mesenchyme. As the development proceeded, the formation of the crypt occurred in the caudorostral direction. The developing crypt advanced into the vascular plexus, so that a few vessels situated in the mesenchyme between crypts. As the crypt elongated, these vessels formed a small plexus situated perpendicular to the primary plexus, while the primary plexus became monolayered and loosened. The new plexus was composed of ascending vessels and traversing ones, but the regular honeycomb-like plexuses around openings of crypts have not established yet even in 18 days of gestation. The vascular system as well as the crypt in the distal colon will take further a few postnatal weeks to be completed.

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