The study of acute arterial insufficiency of the extremities is an area of continuing interest and investigation, in light of the possible effects stemming from the evolution of the disease and the necessity for urgent treatment. PURPOSE: To analyze the effects of the interruption of the flow in the normal arterial endothelium morphology and correlate them with the ischemia duration. METHODS: We submitted 30 rabbits to the ligature of the right external iliac artery for 6 hours or 72 hours and observed specific morphological variables in the endothelial layer under optical and electronic microscopy. RESULTS: In the optical microscopic study, no statistically significant results were observed in the comparison of the groups (control, 6- and 72-hour occlusions). With electronic microscopy, we observed alterations in the endothelial cell characterized by hyperpigmentation with detachment of the same from its bed; and rupture of the internal elastic membrane, with the exposure of the subendothelial material to the vascular lumen. CONCLUSIONS: The optical microscopy was not an effective method for the determination of endothelial morphological alterations; the electronic microscopy allowed us to observe initial signals of the endothelial cell and layer injury 72 hours after the interruption of the normal arterial flow.
Endothelium; Microscopy, electron; Ischemia; Rabbits