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J Anat. 1986 Aug;147:1-25.

Structure of the glandular layer and koilin membrane in the gizzard of the adult domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus).

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Sub-Department of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Cambridge.


The koilin membrane is formed by the secretions of gland, crypt and surface epithelial cells. Glands form a continuous layer and are arranged in groups of 10-20. They are straight tubes about 500 microns long and 15 microns in diameter and produce rodlets of hard koilin. Hard koilin rodlets (5 microns diameter) form clusters of five or six as they pass through the crypts and enter the koilin membrane. Each rodlet hardens within its gland and maintains its individuality throughout its entire length. Rodlet clusters have previously been called 'rods'. Most of the softer koilin, which fills the spaces between the rodlet clusters, is produced by the surface epithelial cells. These cells form gentle arches between the cavities of adjacent crypts. Horizontal branches between rodlet clusters ('rods') do not exist. There is approximately twice as much surface koilin as rodlet koilin within the membrane. Abrasion of the koilin membrane is not uniform but occurs in a patchy fashion.

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