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Cell Tissue Res. 1988 Jun;252(3):683-5.

The ultrastructure of the lung of two newborn marsupial species, the northern native cat, Dasyurus hallucatus, and the brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


The lungs of newborn northern native cats, Dasyurus hallucatus and newborn brushtail possums, Trichosurus vulpecula were examined by both light and electron microscopy. The native cat has a birth weight of 18 mg after a gestation of about 21 days, whereas the brushtail possum weights 200 mg at birth and has a gestation period of 17.5 days. The lungs of the native cat are two large respiratory sacs, with a respiratory lining of squamous cells and surfactant-secreting cells. The capillaries are located within the connective tissue just below this respiratory epithelium. The visceral covering of the lung is formed by squamous cells. The lungs of the possum are composed of numerous large respiratory sacs which are separated by connective tissue septa in which the capillaries are located. The sacs, as in other species, are lined with squamous cells and surfactant-secreting cells. It is proposed that the structure of the lung of the newborn marsupial is related more to the size of the newborn rather than to the length of the gestation period.

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