[MARMAM] Submission: New publication on cetacean lung anatomy (Cristina Otero-Sabio)

Cristina Otero Sabio cristina.oterosabio at studenti.unipd.it
Tue Dec 29 03:52:40 PST 2020

New publication on cetacean lung anatomy (Cristina Otero-Sabio)

Dear colleagues

my Co-Authors and I are happy to share with you our recent article at
Journal of Morphology, entitled:

Microscopic anatomical, immunohistochemical, and morphometric
characterization of the terminal airways of the lung in cetaceans

Otero‐Sabio, C.;  Centelleghe, C.;  Corain, L.;  Graïc, J.M.;  Cozzi,
B.;  Rivero, M.;  Consoli, F.;  Peruffo, A.

The PDF is available at:


The lungs of cetaceans undergo anatomical and physiological adaptations
that facilitate extended breath‐holding during dives. Here, we present new
insights on the ontogeny of the microscopic anatomy of the terminal portion
of the airways of the lungs in five cetacean species: the fin whale
physalus*); the sperm whale (*Physeter macrocephalus*), the Cuvier's beaked
whale (*Ziphius cavirostris*); the bottlenose dolphin (*Tursiops truncatus*);
and the striped dolphin (*Stenella coeruleoalba*). We (a) studied the
histology of the terminal portion of the airways; (b) used
immunohistochemistry (IHC) to characterize the muscle fibers with
antibodies against smooth muscle (sm‐) actin, sm‐myosin, and desmin; (c)
the innervation of myoelastic sphincters (MESs) with an antibody against
neurofilament protein; and (d) defined the diameter of the terminal
bronchioles, the diameter and length of the alveoli, the thickness of the
septa, the major and minor axis, perimeter and section area of the
cartilaginous rings by quantitative morphometric analyses in partially
inflated lung tissue. As already reported in the literature, in bottlenose
and striped dolphins, a system of MESs was observed in the terminal
bronchioles. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of smooth muscle
in the terminal bronchioles, alveolar ducts, and alveolar septa in all the
examined species. Some neurofilaments were observed close to the MESs in
both bottlenose and striped dolphins. In fin, sperm, and Cuvier's beaked
whales, we noted a layer of longitudinal smooth muscle going from the
terminal bronchioles to the alveolar sacs. The morphometric analysis
allowed to quantify the structural differences among cetacean species by
ranking them into groups according to the adjusted mean values of the
morphometric parameters measured. Our results contribute to the current
understanding of the anatomy of the terminal airways of the cetacean lung
and the role of the smooth muscle in the alveolar collapse reflex, crucial
for prolonged breath‐holding diving.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at
cristina.oterosabio at studenti.unipd.it

Best regards and Happy New Year

Cristina Otero-Sabio Ph.D Candidate

Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science (BCA)

University of Padova

Viale dell’Università, 16

35030 Legnaro - Agripolis (PD), Italy

phone: + 34 660 908 580
e-mail: cristina.oterosabio at studendi.unipd.it
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