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The abdominal air sac ostium of the domestic fowl: A sphincter regulated by neuro-epithelial cells?

Cook, R.D., Vaillant, C.R. and King, A.S. (1986) The abdominal air sac ostium of the domestic fowl: A sphincter regulated by neuro-epithelial cells? Journal of Anatomy, 149 . pp. 101-111.

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A microscopic study of the ostium of the abdominal air sac of the domestic fowl has shown that the ostium has a sphincter-like ring of well innervated smooth muscle. Three types of neuro-epithelial cell characterised by their content of numerous large granular vesicles are found in the wall of the ostium. Type I cells are present within the submucosal nerve plexus and appear to be morphologically similar to SIF cells. Type II cells occur in the lamina propria, in clusters or cords, are often associated with fenestrated capillaries, and have synaptic contact with axonal terminals containing small agranular vesicles. The cells of Types I and II are not intra-epithelial and therefore differ from the cells which have been found elsewhere in the respiratory tract of the domestic fowl and other vertebrates. Type III cells are intra-epithelial, and some of those in the basal region of the epithelium are associated with axon terminals. Type III cells are similar in ultrastructure and location to neuro-epithelial cells found elsewhere in the major airways of the domestic fowl. They also resemble cells in neuro-epithelial bodies in amphibian, reptilian and mammalian lungs, although neuro-epithelial bodies have not been found in the lung of this species of bird. The morphology of the ostium suggests that it may have a sphincter-like function, possibly regulated by the neuro-epithelial cells. The presence of a mucociliary epithelium and defensive tissue in the lamina propria indicates that the ostium is the site of defence mechanisms.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
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