Electron microscopic studies of the carotid body of the domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus) have shown Type I and Type II cells combined with axons into compact groups. The many Type I cells in the depths of the organ had a body, containing the nucleus, and an elongated, flared process. Some of the Type I cells in the superficial regions tended to be spindle-shaped. Type I cells were characterised by membrane-bound, dense-cored vesicles about 120 nm in diameter. Type II cells invested the Type I cells and had axons embedded in them as in Schwann cells.
The fine structure of the carotid body in the domestic fowl resembles that of the Lovebird (Uroloncha domestica) and of various amphibia and mammals. The possibility is discussed that the Type I cells may have a chemoreceptor or a general secretory function, or even both pathway for functions together. The main role of the Type II cells seems to be to provide a of these axons leading to or from Type I cells.
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The authors are grateful to Mr. R. P. Gould of the Department of Anatomy, Middlesex Hospital Medical School for permission to use some of his and Dr. Hodges' original material in the illustrations. Dr. Hodges also wishes to thank the A.R.C. and the University of London Central Research Fund for financial assistance. We are also most appreciative of the photographic assistance of J. Geary.
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Hodges, R.D., King, A.S., King, D.Z. et al. The general ultrastructure of the carotid body of the domestic fowl. Cell Tissue Res. 162, 483–497 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00209348
- Carotid body
- Domestic fowl