Systematic analysis of hematopoietic, vasculogenetic, and angiogenetic phases in the developing embryonic avian lung, Gallus gallus variant domesticus

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In the embryonic lung of the domestic fowl, Gallus gallus variant domesticus, hematogenetic and vasculogenetic cells become ultrastructurally clear from day 4 of development. In the former group of cells, filopodial extensions coalesce, cytoplasm thickens, and accumulating hemoglobin displaces the nucleus peripherally while in the latter, conspicuous filopodial extensions and large nuclei develop as the cells assume a rather stellate appearance. From day 5, erythrocytes and granular leukocytes begin forming from cytoarchitecturally cognate hematogenetic cells. The cells become distinguishable when hemoglobin starts to accumulate in the erythroblasts and electron dense bodies form in the leukoblasts. Vasculogenesis begins from day 7 in different areas of the developing lung: erthrocytes (but not granular leukocytes) appear to attract committed vasculogenetic cells (angioblasts) that form an endothelial lining and vessel wall. Arrangement of angioblasts around forming blood vessels sets the direction along which the vessels sprout (angiogenesis). In some areas of the developing lung, through what seems like an inductive erythropoietic process, arcades of erythrocytes organize. Once endothelial cells surround such continuities, discrete vascular units organize. By day 10, the major parts of the in-built (intrinsic) pulmonary vasculature are assembled. Complete pulmonary circulation (i.e., through the exchange tissue) is not established until after day 18 when the blood capillaries start to develop. Since the precursory erythrocytes do not have a respiratory role, it is imperative that de novo erythropoiesis is essential for vasculogenesis. Diffuse (fragmentary) development and subsequent piecemeal assembly of the pulmonary vascular system may explicate the fabrication of a complex circulatory architecture that grants cross-current, counter-current, and multicapillary serial arterialization designs in the exchange tissue of the avian lung. The exceptional respiratory efficiency of the avian lung is largely attributable to the geometries (physical interfacing) between the bronchial and vascular elements at different levels of morphological organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalTissue and Cell
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Birds
  • Blood vessel
  • Egg
  • Embryo
  • Hematogenesis
  • Vasculogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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