The microcirculation of the human colon with special reference to the differences in microvascular architecture between the proximal and distal colon was studied by scanning electron microscopy with vascular corrosion casting technique. The subsurface capillary networks of the ascending colon were honeycomb-like and multi-layered, with an average number of capillary layers per capillary loop of 3.28±1.10 (mean±SD). Whereas, those of the sigmoid colon were almost single-layered, and the average number of capillary layers was 1.19±0.39. In the cross-section of vascular casts of both parts of the colon, the ascending capillaries originating from the submucosal arterioles ascended into the mucosal layer and joined into the subsurface capillary networks, which drained into the collecting venules near the surface. The mean diameter of the collecting venules of the ascending and the sigmoid colon was 29.03±6.41 μm and 19.48±2.23 μm, respectively. From these findings, it is speculated that the multi-layered capillary networks of the proximal colon are closely related to the greater water absorption and electrolyte transport activities compared to those of the distal colon.

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