A scanning and transmission electron microscopic study of the lung of a caecilian Boulengerula taitanus

Citation:
Maina JN, Maloiy GMO. "A scanning and transmission electron microscopic study of the lung of a caecilian Boulengerula taitanus.". 2009.

Abstract:

The lung of an apodan amphibian Bouiengerula taitanus has been investigated by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. This caecilian has only a single, long tubular lung that tapers towards the caudal end of the body. The lung has a central air duct which radially opens into a single stratum of alveoli lined by well developed septa that attach to two diametrically opposite trabeculae. The trabeculae carry the pulmonary artery and vein. The septa have blood capillaries on both surfaces and supportive and contractile elements like collagen, smooth muscle, elastic tissue and fibrocytes. The alveolar surface has only a single population of pneumocytes that combine the morphological features of the mammalian type 1 and 2 cells, i.e. they contain the osmiophilic, lamellated bodies and are squamous in form. Through subepithelial cytoplasmic invaginations, the pneumocytes, together with their basement lamina, were observed to be firmly attached to the septa1 tissue elements, presumably to avoid mechanical detachment during the rapid respiratory movements. The compartmentation of the whole lung in this species is viewed as a means of increasing the surface area available for gas exchange which, coupled with other already established cardiovascular adaptations in this species, may be of significance in its fossorial mode of life, an environment that is usually hypoxic and hypercarbic

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