Lung growth of the turkey, Meleagris gallopavo: I. Morphologic and morphometric description

K. I. Timmwood, Dallas Melvin Hyde, C. G. Plopper

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14 Scopus citations


To describe lung growth qualitatively and quantitatively from prehatch to adulthood of an unselected line of turkey, a precocial avian species, 36 male turkeys, three in each group, were killed at 22 and 25 days of incubation, on hatch day, and at 1, 4, 7, 10, 14, 21, 28, 112, and 420 days of age. Body weight and lung volume were measured. A three-level cascade sampling system was used to prepare lung tissue for morphologic and morphometric observation by light microscopy. Point and intersection counting were used to estimate volume and surface densities of lung compartments relative to lung volume. Absolute volumes and surfaces of lung compartments were calculated. Bilogarithmic regressions provided allometric equations to describe growth of the lung in three phases: 1) Tissue proliferation-explosive growth of lung volume relative to body weight and of the gas-exchange compartment within the lung. At 22 days of incubation there were few air and blood capillaries and a great deal of tissue that looked like mesenchyme between the parabronchi. Within the 6 days prior to hatch, the surface area of air capillaries increased 11-fold and of blood capillaries 27-fold, whereas the volume of interparabronchial tissue decreased 58%. 2) Equilibrated growth - from hatch day to 28 days of age, most lung compartments grew evenly with lung volume. 3) Regulated growth - from 28 days of age to adult, all lung compartments, except large vessels and exchange compartment, grew more slowly than the entire lung. Interatrial septa lengthened and their epithelial covering thinned, infundibula became more apparent, and interparabronchial connective tissue reached a minimal volume density in the adult lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-157
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Anatomy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy


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