Comparative Anatomy of the Spleen of the White Rat, (Rattus norvegicus albinus) a Literature Review

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Olivares, R.; Contreras, K.; Farías, G. & Elgueda, D.


The spleen is the largest intraperitoneal lymphatic organ of the body, presenting two main functions: defensive, through immune response and blood filtration. The objective of the present review was to obtain updated information on the anatomy of the spleen of the albino rat (Rattus norvegicus albinus) and to compare it with the anatomy of the human, dog, cat and pig spleen, representing the main species of importance in medicine, veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences. A search for updated bibliographic material was carried out in different scientific websites. Thus, 71 bibliographic sources were reviewed, mostly scientific articles (31), human and veterinary anatomy books (17), specialized articles (17) and theses (6). In general, there is consensus on the anatomical description of the spleen, which is located in the left hypochondriac region of the abdomen between the fundus of the stomach and the diaphragm, irrigated by the splenic artery and vein. It was evidenced that there are similarities in macroscopic aspects when comparing the spleen of the white rat with the spleen of other species (functionality, relative weight, topographic location). In microscopic aspects, the spleen in humans and other mammals is composed of stroma, in addition to parenchyma, constituted in turn by white and red pulp. In particular, there are differences between rat, human, cat, dog and pig spleens in shapes, sizes and microscopic aspects related to microcirculation and immunity. While there are similarities in pathological processes and responses to pharmacological and clinical treatments. For the above mentioned, it is concluded that the albino rat constitutes a good biological model, specifically in microscopic anatomical aspects of the spleen of immunological type. While the pig spleen is comparatively better in macroscopic anatomical studies of surgical type, both are extrapolable especially to human medicine.

KEY WORDS: Spleen; Rat; Veterinary anatomy; Human anatomy; Immune system; Lymphatic organs.

How to cite this article

OLIVARES, R.; CONTRERAS, K.; FARÍAS, G. & ELGUEDA, D. Comparative anatomy of the spleen of the white rat, a literature review. Int. J. Morphol., 41(6):1727-1733, 2023.