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Tissue Micro-channels Formed by Collagen Fibers and their Internal Components: Cellular Evidence of Proposed Meridian Conduits in Vertebrate Skin

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 September 2020

Bai Xuebing
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Wu Ruizhi
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Zhang Yue
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Liang Chunhua
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Shi Yonghong
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Zhang Yingxin
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Ding Baitao
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Imran Tarique
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Yang Ping
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
Chen Qiusheng*
Affiliation:
MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province210095, China
*
*Author for correspondence: Chen Qiusheng, E-mail: chenqsh305@njau.edu.cn
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Abstract

In order to clarify fine structures of the hypothetical meridian conduits of Chinese traditional medicine (CTM) in the skin, the present study used light and transmission electron microscopy to examine fasciae in different vertebrate species. Collagen fiber bundles and layers were arranged in a crisscross pattern, which developed into a special tissue micro-channel (TMC) network, in a manner that was analogs to the proposed skin meridian conduits. It was further revealed that tissue fluid in lateral TMC branches drained into wide longitudinal channels, which were distinctly different from lymphatic capillary. Mast cells, macrophages, and extracellular vesicles such as ectosomes and exosomes were distributed around telocytes (TCs) and their long processes (Telopodes, Tps) within the TMC. Cell junctions between TCs developed, which could enable the communication between contiguous but distant Tps. On the other hand, winding free Tps without cell junctions were also uncovered inside the TMC. Tissue fluid, cell junctions of TCs, mast cells, macrophages, and extracellular vesicles within the TMC corresponded to the circulating “气血” (“Qi-Xue”, i.e., information, message, and energy) of meridian conduits at the cytological level. These results could provide morphological evidence for the hypothesis that “meridians are the conduit for Qi-Xue circulation” in CTM.

Type
Micrographia
Copyright
Copyright © Microscopy Society of America 2020

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Footnotes

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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