Slight volume changes in the duck lung do not imply a fundamental change in the structure of the parenchyma


Complete and clear details of the functional structure of the avian lung remain remarkably elusive. It is only recently that the types, structure and topography of secondary bronchi were unequivocally elucidated. This project aims to study lung development in both developing and adult avians in order to unravel how the various structures are crafted. Additionally, the project will focus on development of the blod-gas barrier both in mammals and birds. The latter part of the study aims to uncover method s of enhancing blood-gas barrier maturation in order to mitigate against problems associated with premature birth. Some recent findings have bbeen published (Makanya AN, Kavoi BM, Kihurani DO. Slight volume changes in the duck lung do not imply a fundamental change in the structure of the parenchyma. Anat Histol Embryol. 2021 Jan;50(1):169-174. doi: 10.1111/ahe.12615)


ERafrica/NRF-Kenya [RDS-Control

Principle Instigator
Prof. Andrew Makanya

Slight changes in lung volume have previously been reported in ducks. We studied the functional structure of the lung of the domestic duck using classical anatomical techniques as well as ultrasound monitoring to unravel the causes of such changes. Later dorsal and medioventral secondary bronchi were superficially positioned and covered with a thin transparent and collapsible membrane, internally lined with a cuboidal to squamous epithelium. The lung parenchyma was rigid, with atria well supported by septa containing smooth muscles, interparabronchial septa reinforced by collagen fibres, and blood capillaries supported by epithelial plates. On ultrasound monitoring, an outward and inward movement of the lung surface during inspiration and expiration, respectively, was evident at the region where the airways were covered by the thin membranes. The movements plausibly facilitated air movement in the lung just like the air sacs. We conclude that volume changes in the duck lung occur due to a slight morphological adaptation rather than a change in the archetypical design of the avian lung parenchyma.

Keywords: duck; non-compliant lung; volume changes.

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