REAPPRAISAL OF THE STRUCTURE OF ARTERIAL TUNICA ADVENTITIA AND ITS INVOLVEMENT IN ATHEROSCLEROSIS

Citation:
Ogeng’o J, Ominde BS, Ongeti K, Olabu B, Obimbo M, Mwachaka P. "REAPPRAISAL OF THE STRUCTURE OF ARTERIAL TUNICA ADVENTITIA AND ITS INVOLVEMENT IN ATHEROSCLEROSIS." Anatomy Journal of Africa. . 2017;6(1):824-833.

Abstract:

Tunica adventitia was previously considered an inert fibrous layer only involved in nutritional and physical
support of the arterial wall. Recent studies reveal that it is an important dynamic layer actively involved
in the regulation of vascular structure, function, response to injury and disease processes especially
atherosclerosis. Many anatomical studies on arteries, however, still make only peripheral reference to it,
without elucidating its detailed structure. Knowledge of the latter is important in understanding
pathobiology and interventional approaches to atherosclerosis. This review, therefore, aims at
consolidating contemporary literature on the structure and clinical significance of the arterial tunica
adventitia. Google literature search was done using the key words tunica adventitia combined with:
artery, aorta, cells, cell types, collagen, elastic fibres, vasa vasora, lymphatics, nerves, atherosclerosis.
There is overwhelming evidence that the tunica adventitia comprises multiple types of collagen and
elastic fibres arranged in various directions, a wide variety of cells including fibroblasts, smooth muscle,
pericytes, myofibroblasts, leukocytes, mononuclear phagocytic, defence, mesenchymal stem and mast
cells; vasa vasora including microvasculature, lymphatics and neural elements. The exact cellular, fibre
composition and orientation vary between various arteries and regions of the same vessel. Its
components are involved in the initiation, progression and complications of atherosclerosis. In conclusion,
the tunica adventitia is an active dynamic layer which, besides mechanical and nutritive functions; has
metabolic, regulatory and defence roles that are critical in arterial homeostasis and atherosclerosis.
Vascular studies should always include detailed analysis of the biology of the tunica adventitia.

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