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The intestinal blood circulation in the River lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis

Percy, L.R. and Potter, I.C. (1979) The intestinal blood circulation in the River lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis. Journal of Zoology, 187 (3). pp. 415-431.

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Serial sections, injections with india ink and latex, and observations on fresh material, have been used to determine the pattern of blood circulation within the intestine of larval and adult lampreys. Attention has also been paid to resolving the variable terms previously applied to many of the blood vessels, and to the possible functional significance of the differences found between the two life cycle stages. In the larva, the main arterial supply to the intestine consists of a typhlosolar artery, while the venous return is comprised of a posterior and a left and right anterior intestinal vein that usually unite before entering the liver. Although a typhlosolar artery is also present in the adult, the main venous return of the ammocoete is replaced at metamorphosis by a newly formed typhlosolar vein. Moreover, in the ammocoete a considerable amount of blood is discharged into the haemopoietic sponge-work of the typhlosole and the arterial supply to the intestine is poorly developed. By contrast, the typhlosolar sponge-work is lost in the adult and a more efficient arterial supply is developed within the lamina propria of the various intestinal regions. Furthermore, vascular couples are developed in the adult which facilitate the flow of blood in opposite directions in the intestinal wall. Since, during both life cycle stages, the arterial blood passes into tissue spaces, there is no true capillary network in the intestine and no evidence was found for the presence of a lymphatic system. It is suggested that the changes which take place in the intestinal blood supply and the internal structure of the gut during metamorphosis result in improvements both to the vascular system and to the assimilation efficiency.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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