Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 August 2013
Lymphatic stomata are small openings of lymphatic capillaries on the surface of the mesothelium that lines the serous cavity and have the function of active absorption. They play an important role in physiological and pathological conditions. The cavity of the tunica vaginalis is a typical serous cavity of the testis, but the lymphatic stomata of the tunica vaginalis of humans have never been reported. Here, we studied their ultrastructure by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The submesothelial connective tissue with foramina was investigated after the mesothelial cells were digested using NaOH solution. We found the lymphatic stomata in cuboidal mesothelial cell regions of the parietal layer of the tunica vaginalis of humans with a diameter of about 1–2 μm. Sometimes, closed lymphatic stomata could be observed. Our study is the first to report the existence of lymphatic stomata of the tunica vaginalis of humans. We found that the tunica vaginalis cavity is connected with the lymphatic system through the stomata, which might provide a morphological basis for the drainage of hydrocele and tumor metastasis of the tunica vaginalis of humans.
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