Ultrastructural characterization of the pulmonary cellular defences in the lung of a bird, the rock dove, Columba livia
Cowley, Heather M
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Free (surface) avian respiratory macrophages (FARMs) were harvested by lavage of the lung/air–sac system of the rock dove, Columba livia. The presence of FARMs in the atria and infundibula was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy. The respiratory system has developed several cellular defence lines that include surface macrophages, epithelial, subepithelial and interstitial phagocytes, and pulmonary intravascular macrophages (PIMs). Hence, C. livia appears to have a multiple pulmonary cellular protective armoury. Ultrastructurally, the FARMs and the PIMs were similar to the corresponding cells of mammals. The purported high susceptibility of birds to respiratory diseases, a state that has largely been deduced from morbidities and mortalities of commercial birds, and which has chiefly been attributed to paucity of the FARMs, is not supported by the present observations.