The blood vascular architecture of the rat nasal associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) was studied by scanning electron microscopy of corrosion casts. To examine the correlation of the vasculature with the distribution of lymphocyte subsets, the NALT was also studied by light microscopy of immunostained samples. The NALT was supplied by a branch of the inferior nasal artery which arose from the sphenopalatine artery. This branch reached the bottom of the NALT and ramified arterioles to the follicles and the parafollicular regions. These arterioles ascended toward the subepithelial region, giving off capillaries en route to form a coarse plexus within the follicles and the parafollicular regions. The arterioles reached the subepithelial region and formed a subepithelial capillary network consisting of a single layer of flat meshwork. The follicular, parafollicular and subepithelial capillaries anastomosed one another. The capillaries in each region were gathered into collecting venules, which in turn drained into high endothelial venules (HEVs) in the parafollicular region. The HEVs ran through the parafollicular regions around the follicular perimeters, and flowed into ordinary veins to leave the NALT. Lymphocytes labeled with an anti-T cell antibody were mainly distributed in the parafollicular regions, where HEVs were situated. B cells were mostly observed in the follicular and dome areas. The microvascular structure and its correlation with lymphocyte subset domains in the NALT were essentially similar to those in other mucosa associated lymphoid tissues (MALTs) such as tonsils and Peyer's patches.
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