Odontocetes primarily rely on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans as their main source of nutrition. In the digestive system, their polygastric complex exhibits similarities to that of their closest terrestrial relatives such as cows, sheep, and giraffes, while the entero-colic tract shares similarities with terrestrial carnivores. The morphology, caliber, and structure of the odontocete intestine are relatively constant, and, since there is no caecum, a distinction between the small and large intestine and their respective subdivisions is difficult. To address this issue, we used the intestinal vascularization pattern, specifically the course and branching of the celiac artery (CA) and the cranial and caudal mesenteric arteries (CrMA and CdMA). A series of pictures and dissections of 10 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were analyzed. Additionally, we performed a cast by injecting colored polyurethane foam in both arteries and veins to measure the caliber of the arteries and clarify their monopodial or dichotomous branching. Our results showed the presence of multiple duodenal arteries (DAs) detaching from the CA. The CrMA gave origin to multiple jejunal arteries, an ileocolic artery (ICA), and, in six cases, a CdMA. In four specimens, the CdMA directly originated from the abdominal aorta. The ICA gave rise to the mesenteric ileal branches (MIB) and mesenteric anti-ileal branches and the right colic arteries (RCA) and the middle colic arteries. From the CdMA originated the left colic and cranial rectal arteries (LCA and CrRA). The measurements revealed a mixed monopodial and dichotomous branching scheme. The analysis of the arteries and their branching gave us an instrument, based on comparative anatomy, to distinguish between the different intestinal compartments. We used the midpoint of anastomoses between MIB and RCA to indicate the border between the small and the large intestine, and the midpoint of anastomoses between LCA and CrRA, to tell the colon from the rectum. This pattern suggested an elongation of the duodenum and a shortening of the colic tract that is still present in this species. These findings might be related to the crucial need to possess a long duodenal tract to digest prey ingested whole without chewing. A short aboral part is also functional to avoid gas-producing colic fermentation. The rare origin of the CdMA on the CrMA might instead be a consequence of the cranial thrust of the abdominopelvic organs related to the loss of the pelvic girdle that occurred during the evolution of cetaceans.

Vascularization of the gastrointestinal tract of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus, Montagu 1821) / Gerussi, Tommaso; Graïc, Jean-Marie; Orekhova, Ksenia; Cozzi, Bruno; Grandis, Annamaria. - In: JOURNAL OF ANATOMY. - ISSN 1469-7580. - ELETTRONICO. - 244:(2024), pp. 1-11. [10.1111/joa.13989]

Vascularization of the gastrointestinal tract of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus, Montagu 1821)

Grandis, Annamaria
Ultimo
2024

Abstract

Odontocetes primarily rely on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans as their main source of nutrition. In the digestive system, their polygastric complex exhibits similarities to that of their closest terrestrial relatives such as cows, sheep, and giraffes, while the entero-colic tract shares similarities with terrestrial carnivores. The morphology, caliber, and structure of the odontocete intestine are relatively constant, and, since there is no caecum, a distinction between the small and large intestine and their respective subdivisions is difficult. To address this issue, we used the intestinal vascularization pattern, specifically the course and branching of the celiac artery (CA) and the cranial and caudal mesenteric arteries (CrMA and CdMA). A series of pictures and dissections of 10 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were analyzed. Additionally, we performed a cast by injecting colored polyurethane foam in both arteries and veins to measure the caliber of the arteries and clarify their monopodial or dichotomous branching. Our results showed the presence of multiple duodenal arteries (DAs) detaching from the CA. The CrMA gave origin to multiple jejunal arteries, an ileocolic artery (ICA), and, in six cases, a CdMA. In four specimens, the CdMA directly originated from the abdominal aorta. The ICA gave rise to the mesenteric ileal branches (MIB) and mesenteric anti-ileal branches and the right colic arteries (RCA) and the middle colic arteries. From the CdMA originated the left colic and cranial rectal arteries (LCA and CrRA). The measurements revealed a mixed monopodial and dichotomous branching scheme. The analysis of the arteries and their branching gave us an instrument, based on comparative anatomy, to distinguish between the different intestinal compartments. We used the midpoint of anastomoses between MIB and RCA to indicate the border between the small and the large intestine, and the midpoint of anastomoses between LCA and CrRA, to tell the colon from the rectum. This pattern suggested an elongation of the duodenum and a shortening of the colic tract that is still present in this species. These findings might be related to the crucial need to possess a long duodenal tract to digest prey ingested whole without chewing. A short aboral part is also functional to avoid gas-producing colic fermentation. The rare origin of the CdMA on the CrMA might instead be a consequence of the cranial thrust of the abdominopelvic organs related to the loss of the pelvic girdle that occurred during the evolution of cetaceans.
2024
Vascularization of the gastrointestinal tract of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus, Montagu 1821) / Gerussi, Tommaso; Graïc, Jean-Marie; Orekhova, Ksenia; Cozzi, Bruno; Grandis, Annamaria. - In: JOURNAL OF ANATOMY. - ISSN 1469-7580. - ELETTRONICO. - 244:(2024), pp. 1-11. [10.1111/joa.13989]
Gerussi, Tommaso; Graïc, Jean-Marie; Orekhova, Ksenia; Cozzi, Bruno; Grandis, Annamaria
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/961985
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