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By M.P. Wiedeman (Auth.)

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The interior of the module is filled with a dense network of precapil­ lary, capillary, and postcapillary vessels. Zweifach (1974a) has described these vessels in the terminal vascular bed of the cat mesentery as follows. Small arteries have diameters of approximately 50 μπι and walls that are 2-3 μ,ηι thick. Arterioles, the next order of branches, are vessels with diameters of 20-40 μπι, with a single layer of smooth muscle. The final length of 200-300 μ,ηι of the arterioles is designated as terminal arteriole, and precapillary vessels are the lateral branches from the arterioles from which capillaries originate.

In considering the vascular pattern displayed on this thin, voluminous tissue, it is convenient to divide the mesentery into portions delineated by three distinctly different sizes of arterial and venous vessels. In viewing a portion of the mesen­ tery, the largest or first order vessels form a triangular pattern. The paired arterial and venous vessels extend from their posterior attachment toward the intestine where they bifurcate and then run parallel to the intestine. These large vessels, which are 150-300 /Am in diameter, outline a sector (Fig.

These vessels are easy to recognize because they are long and straight and accompanied by a venule that is much wider in diame­ ter. Two or three such arterioles usually supply the capillary network of an area 11 x 15 cm. This same capillary network is drained by four or five venules with diameters from 40 to 90 /z,m. All vessels in the conjunctival beds with diameters above 15 μτη are venules. The slightly larger venules, those in the 25-40 μτη range, may connect with one another but most frequently join to form larger vessels which may have diameters between 75 and 90 μτη.

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