The avian lung has been considered to be rigid and to remain isovolumetric during the respiratory cycle. We tested this hypothesis by implanting radiopaque markers of tantalum on the dorsal pulmonary surfaces and ventral pulmonary aponeuroses of Pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) and measuring changes in lung thickness during the respiratory cycle using high speed cineradiography. We found small but regular changes in lung thickness that were synchronous with respiratory phase. Lung thickness was greatest at mid-inspiration (0.6% greater than mean) and least at mid-expiration (0.8% less than mean). Measurements made on ostrich (Struthio camelus) respiratory structures suggest that the maximal force that could be generated by the muscles (Mm. costopulmonales) at the margins of the ventral pulmonary aponeurosis is more than two orders of magnitude greater than would be required to resist pressure-induced changes in lung volume during respiration at rest. The action of these muscles could account for the very small magnitute of the volume changes measured during the respiratory cycle.
- Avian lung
- Pulmonary volume
- Respiratory muscles
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine