Development and spatial organization of the air conduits in the lung of the domestic fowl, Gallus gallus variant domesticus.
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We employed macroscopic and ultrastructural techniques as well as intratracheal casting methods to investigate the pattern of development, categories, and arrangement of the air conduits in the chicken lung. The secondary bronchi included four medioventral (MVSB), 7-10 laterodorsal (LDSB), 1-3 lateroventral (LVSB), several sacobronchi, and 20-60 posterior secondary bronchi (POSB). The latter category has not been described before and is best discerned from the internal aspect of the mesobronchus. The secondary bronchi emerged directly from the mesobronchus, except for the sacobronchi, which sprouted from the air sacs. Parabronchi from the first MVSB coursed craniodorsally and inosculated their cognates from the first two LDSB. The parabronchi from the rest of the LDSB curved dorsomedially to join those from the rest of the MVSB at the dorsal border. Sprouting, migration, and anastomoses of the paleopulmonic parabronchi resulted in two groups of these air conduits; a cranial group oriented rostrocaudally and a dorsal group oriented dorsoventrally. The neopulmonic parabronchial network formed through profuse branching and anastomoses and occupied the ventrocaudal quarter of the lung. There were no differences in the number of secondary bronchi between the left and right lungs. Notably, a combination of several visualization techniques is requisite to adequately identify and enumerate all the categories of secondary bronchi present. The 3D arrangement of the air conduits ensures a sophisticated system, suitable for efficient gas exchange. Microsc. Res. Tech., 2008. (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.