CIBA Foundation Symposium on Pulmonary Structure and Function

By A. V. S. De Reuck; Maeve O'Connor | Go to book overview

THE GLOMUS PULMONALE: ITS LOCATION AND MICROSCOPIC ANATOMY

VERNON E. KRAHL Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland

SINCE the publication of the initial description of the glomus pulmonale ( Krahl, 1960, 1961a) the glomus has been identified in additional specimens of the mammals included in the preliminary report and in several other species (Krahl, 1961b). In each instance the glomus pulmonale has proved to be histologically identical to the well-known jugular, carotid and aortic glomera. Owing to its uniform presence in the species examined thus far and its unique topographical relationships to the origins of the aortic and pulmonary trunks, a more complete account of the pulmonary glomus is now warranted. Phylogenetic and morphological considerations appear to justify its inclusion as a member of a homologous series of glomera which develop in conjunction with derivatives of the primitive branchial arch vessels.

Like the other glomera that are found in the head, neck and thorax, the glomus pulmonale is small (usually 1 to 2 mm. in diameter). It is highly unlikely that it would be detected fortuitously in a gross dissection, or even with the aid of a dissecting microscope. However, phylogenetic and morphological relationships (to be considered later, in the discussion) led easily to the prediction that a homologue of the carotid and aortic bodies should be associated with the pulmonary trunk -- a representative of the sixth branchial arch. It was reasoned that if a glomus had persisted with the remnants of the sixth arterial arch, it should be sought near the origin of the pulmonary arteries from the pulmonary trunk. Furthermore, it should bear a strong histological

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