Lymphatic research and biology

Lymphatic Stomata in the Adult Human Pulmonary Ligament.

PMID 25526320


Lymphatic stomata are small lymphatic openings in the serosal membrane that communicate with the serosal cavity. Although these stomata have primarily been studied in experimental mammals, little is known concerning the presence and properties of lymphatic stomata in the adult human pleura. Thus, adult human pleurae were examined for the presence or absence of lymphatic stomata. A total of 26 pulmonary ligaments (13 left and 13 right) were obtained from 15 adult human autopsy cases and examined using electron and light microscopy. The microscopic studies revealed the presence of apertures fringed with D2-40-positive, CD31-positive, and cytokeratin-negative endothelial cells directly communicating with submesothelial lymphatics in all of the pulmonary ligaments. The apertures' sizes and densities varied from case to case according to the serial tissue section. The medians of these aperture sizes ranged from 2.25 to 8.75 μm in the left pulmonary ligaments and from 2.50 to 12.50 μm in the right pulmonary ligaments. The densities of the apertures ranged from 2 to 9 per mm(2) in the left pulmonary ligaments and from 2 to 18 per mm(2) in the right pulmonary ligaments. However, no significant differences were found regarding the aperture size (p=0.359) and density (p=0.438) between the left and the right pulmonary ligaments. Our study revealed that apertures exhibit structural adequacy as lymphatic stomata on the surface of the pulmonary ligament, thereby providing evidence that lymphatic stomata are present in the adult human pleura.