The fine structure of the normal rat aorta is described. The presence of a sub-endothelial layer, the oblique orientation of the smooth muscle cells with respect to the aortic axis, and the occurrence of desmosomes between these cells and adjacent elastic laminae, are emphasized. Lead-stained collagen presented a characteristic signet-ring appearance on cross-section. The rats examined were the pair-fed controls for the lathyritic series described in a separate communication.

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