The Architecture of Alveolar Capillaries in the Lungs of Bactrian Camels (Camelus bactrianus)

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Xiaohua Du; Xia Liu & James Blackar Mawolo


The Bactrian camel, which is native to China and Mongolia, is large in size and is an even-toed ungulate species. The double humps on the Bactrian camel back differentiate it from the dromedary camel, which has a single hump. This species has adapted to unsuitable conditions (lack of food and water) in the Gobi Desert and is advanced in unique anatomical and physiological characteristics during a prolonged evolution period. Several studies have been conducted on the anatomical features of the Bactrian camel, but none have given attention to the alveolar capillaries of the Bactrian camel lung. Therefore, the current study aims to explore the architecture of the alveolar capillary in the Bactrian camel lung and further explain the mechanism of blood flow in its lung. The current study extracted and examined the architecture of the alveolar capillary in the lung of the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) and further explained the mechanism of blood flow by performing lung casting and replica scanning electron microscopy methods. The reports showed that the resources of the alveolar-capillary originated from the capillaries of the subpleural space or interlobular septulum, sometimes originating from the precapillary arterioles or directly from the terminal arterioles. The alveolar capillaries anastomosed and formed a single layer of dense, basket-like network surrounding the alveolus. The mash diameter of the alveolar-capillary network was larger than that of the capillary, and the appearance of the mash was oval and elliptical. Many of the collapsed alveolar-capillary networks were found in the alveolar microvascular architecture in the lung of the Bactrian camel. The study found that, due to many collapsed alveoli in the Bactrian camel lung, the disproportional pressure between the pulmonary alveoli induced less imbalance of blood flow in the alveolar capillary, which affected the gas exchange efficiency. Therefore, the function of the anastomosing capillary branch was likely to regulate the blood flow between the alveolar-capillary network.

KEY WORDS: Bactrian camel, lung, scanning electron microscope (SEM), alveolar capillary, blood flow.

How to cite this article

DU, X.; LIU, X. & MAWOLO, J. B. The architecture of alveolar capillaries in the lungs of Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus). Int. J. Morphol., 38(6):1779-1785, 2020.