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      Fine structure of the pecten oculi in the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus).

      Histology and histopathology

      Animals, Birds, anatomy & histology, Capillaries, ultrastructure, Endothelium, Vascular, Melanocytes, Microscopy, Electron, Optic Nerve, Plastic Embedding, Retinal Vessels

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          The pecten oculi of the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) has been examined by light and electron microscopy. The pecten in this species is of the pleated type and is small in comparison to the size of the eyeball. It consists of 7-8 accordion folds which are joined apically by a pigmented bridge of tissue. Within each fold are numerous capillaries, larger supply and drainage vessels and plentiful pleomorphic melanocytes. The capillaries are extremely specialized vessels, most of which display plentiful microfolds on both their luminal and abluminal surfaces although some capillaries show but a few microfolds. The endothelial cell bodies are extremely thin with most organelles located near the nucleus. All capillaries are surrounded by a thick fibrillar basal lamina which is felt to be structurally important. Pericytes are a common feature within these thickened basal laminae. The numerous melanocytes form an incomplete sheath around the capillaries and are also presumed to be fulfilling a structural role. While the morphology of the pecten in the great horned owl is certainly indicative of a heavy involvement in transport, when compared to the pecten in species that are more visually oriented it is smaller, displays fewer folds and a reduced number of microfolds within the capillaries.

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