Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The Weddell seal cow possesses two subcutaneous, ellipsoidal, abdominal mammary glands with a volume of two to three liters when lactating. Corrosion casts reveal that approximately ten large ducts radiate from a gland cistern at the base of the nipple, and end in a complex system of terminal branches. Each gland has a separate arterial supply, mostly from the caudal deep epigastric with a minor contribution from the deep circumflex iliac. Histologically, lactating, nonlactating (resting), and immature glands resemble those of other eutherians. Sinusoidal blood vessels, not observed in the mammary glands of other mammals, are present within lactating but not in resting lobules in the seal. The terminal pouch and lactiferous sinuses possess circular smooth muscle and elastic fibers in the walls, and accumulations of lymphocytes immediately beneath the epithelium. Sebaceous and sweat glands open into the walls of the nipple and the apex of the terminal pouch. There are extensive networks of blood vessels and longitudinal smooth muscle and elastic fibers in the walls and base of the nipple. The possible functions of these morphological observations are discussed.
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