Structure as revealed by airway dissection. A comparison of mammalian lungs

C. G. Plopper, A. T. Mariassy, L. O. Lollini

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84 Scopus citations


Microdissection of mammalian pulmonary airways demonstrates branching patterns and provides precisely defined tissue samples for morphologic study. The dissections are performed on lung fixed by airway infusion at standard pressures. Using fine scissors and a high resolution duel-viewing dissecting microscope, extrapulmonary and intrapulmonary airways are dissected down their axial pathways. The plane of dissection is chosen to include as many minor daughter (side) branches as possible. Lungs from 5 species: sheep, goat, cat, rabbit, and bonnet monkey have been dissected, photographed, successive generations numbered, and pieces of tissue processed for LM, TEM, and SEM. Branching patterns differ between lobes (cranial versus caudal) of the same species and between the same lobe in different species. Marked differences in epithelial population distribution within the airway tree are found between the same lobe of different species (i.e., cranial lobes of rabbit and sheep) and between different lobes in the same species (i.e., cranial and caudal lobes of the sheep). The dissection approach to pulmonary airway morphologic studies provides specimens of precisely defined branching history, generation number, and anatomic position within regions of the lung and within specific segments. This allows studies that compare: (1) different airway generations in the same pathway, (2) bifurcation points and the airway segments between them, (3) terminal airways of differing pathway lengths and numbers of branching, (4) terminal airways of different regions of same lobe, (5) same airway generations in different lobes, and (6) same airway generations from animal to animal and species to species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number2 II Suppl.
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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