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Production of Regulatory Factors in the Respiratory System of Vertebrates

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Among the different cell types present in the respiratory tract of the vertebrates, some (epithelial, endothelial, neural) specialise in the production of regulatory factors. Endocrine cells occur either single, spread throughout the epithelial lining, or in innervated groups, called 'neuroepithelial bodies' (NEBs). In mammals, these endocrine cells may be involved in lung maturation during perinatal life and in chemoreception. A neuroendocrine diffuse system is present in the respiratory organs of all classes of vertebrates. In amphibians and reptiles, single endocrine cells as well as NEBs are located in the apices of the lung septa. The respiratory tract shows nerve fibres immunoreactive to several neuropeptides. Since some neurons and fibres contain NO synthase a broad evolutionary presence of NO-releasing neurons, probably involved in the control of relaxation, is suggested.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Histology, Faculty of Medicine, Universty of Navarra, 31080 Pamplona, Spain


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