The splenic sinuses in the spleens of 5 human beings and 7 albino rats have been studied in the light microscope and electron microscope after fixation in Dalton's fluid and Palade's fluid and embedding in n-butyl methacrylate.
Splenic sinuses are tortuous vascular channels of large but variable diameter which represent the first venous vessels in the spleen and make up almost the entire red pulp in man and in rats. These vessels are composed of reticulo-endothelial cells flattened to endothelial form and sheathed by a netted reticulum. The luminal surface of the endothelium is made highly irregular by delicate and variable cytoplasmic protrusions, slender corridors separating adjacent endothelial cells, anastomotic openings to other sinuses, bulgings of entire cells, and even thrusts of endothelium spanning the sinai lumen. The supporting reticulum presents a well developed latticed appearance in tangential sections of sinuses, but in most cuts is punctate or linear.
The reticulum is composed of strands without limiting membranes, which, in substance, are amorphous and resemble basement membrane. Material identical in appearance to the substance of the reticulum may be present in the endothelium, suggesting that the reticulum is formed by endothelial cells. The endothelium also contains deposits of presumed ferritin and hemosiderin. The extreme luminal bulgings of endothelium suggest production of circulating monocytes or lymphocytes by detachment of endothelial cells.
Sinuses are patent and collapsed to varying degrees. Patent sinuses are separated by collapsed sinuses and these collapsed sinuses appear to constitute splenic (Billroth) cords.