Histological, histochemical, and fine structural observations on the spleen of seals

The American Journal of Anatomy
U Schumacher, U Welsch


Spleens of three species of Antarctic seals with different diving habits (Weddell seal, crabeater seal, and fur seal) have been studied with histological, histochemical, and electron microscopic methods. The spleens can be classified as nonsinusoidal, with capsule and trabeculae rich in innervated smooth muscle cells. The trabecular system is particularly well developed in the deep- and long-diving Weddell seal. As in other mammals the pulp can be divided into white and red pulp. In the white pulp, periarteriolar lymphatic sheaths and secondary lymphatic nodules occur; both are surrounded by a marginal zone rich in macrophages and eosinophils. The nodules can be observed frequently, which is in accordance with abundance of plasma cells in the red pulp. Well-developed white pulp and numerous plasma cells and eosinophils obviously reflect a high load of nematodes, which have mainly been found in lung and stomach. Additionally, in the red pulp morphological evidence for the following functions has been found: destruction of erythrocytes, erythropoiesis, and thrombopoiesis. In respect to blood flow through the red pulp, we interpret our observations in the following way: terminal branches of arterioles open into the space between t...Continue Reading


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