Complete casts of the hypophyseal and hypothalamic blood vascular beds of newborn, pubescent, adult and aged rats were produced by infusion of low viscosity methacrylate media, dissected under a binocular light microscope, and observed with a scanning electron microscope. The primary capillary plexus projected capillary loops into the median eminence and infundibular stalk. These loops were composed of anastomosing capillaries, being numerous in the central area of the anterior lip of the median eminence. The well developed long loops received their proper afferent arterioles from the arterial terminals in the primary plexus, and emitted their proper efferent venules continuous with the long portal vessels. The loops in newborn rats were poorly developed, appearing as simple ball-like protrusions of the capillaries of the primary plexus. Many branches of the anterior, middle and accessory midde hypophyseal arteries penetrated the primary plexus, and ascended as infundibular ascending arterioles in the median eminence and infundibular stalk. These infundibular ascending arterioles continued into the capillary bed of the hypothalamus, especially in its basilar and peri-ventricular areas. The subependymal capillary network was fairly independent, and located dorsal to the loops. This network received some of the infundibular ascending arterioles, and emitted infundibular descending venules continuous with the long portal vessels. The subependymal network also received the infundibular descending arterioles from the hypothalamic arteries, and emitted the infundibular ascending venules continuous with the hypothalamic veins. Thus, neither a feedback nor a retrograde portal route from the hypophyseal capillaries to the hypothalamic capillaries was noted. The capillary bed of the pars tuberalis was observed only in the adult and aged rats; it was a very coarse network which was derived from the primary capillary plexus and connected to the secondary capillary plexus.
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