Histological characteristics and stereological volume assessment of the ovine tonsils
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology: an international journal of comparative immunology. - Amsterdam
, p. 124-135
Tonsils form a first line of defence against foreign antigens and therefore play a key role in immunity. Since documented information about ovine tonsils is limited, a study was performed in which the morphological characteristics and the volume of lymphoid tissue present in each ovine tonsil were determined. The tonsils of five adult healthy sheep were examined histologically and the volumes were estimated using the Cavalieri method. The pharyngeal tonsil had a mean volume of 1296.1 ± 205.9 mm3 and was by far the largest ovine tonsil, followed by the paired palatine tonsil with a mean volume of 715.0 ± 110.5 mm3. The tonsil of the soft palate, the paired tubal and paraepiglottic tonsils and the lingual tonsil were much smaller with a mean volume of, respectively, 90.3 ± 24.9 mm3, 80.1 ± 24.3 mm3, 29.7 ± 11.8 mm3 and 10.1 ± 2.8 mm3. The folds and crypts of the pharyngeal and palatine tonsils were covered by a reticular and a non-reticular epithelium. Both tonsils were mainly composed of primary and secondary lymph follicles. The palatine tonsils contained 13 crypts with a few secondary infoldings. Lymphoid tissue in the tonsil of the soft palate was located at the nasopharyngeal (dorsal) side of the soft palate. The tubal tonsil was lined with a pseudostratified columnar ciliated epithelium and consisted of scattered lymphoid cells and lymph follicles. The paraepiglottic tonsil consisted of lymph follicles and aggregated lymphoid cells. Its overlying keratinized stratified squamous epithelium was folded and often heavily infiltrated by lymphocytes. The ovine lingual tonsil was not macroscopically visible and did not contain clearly distinguishable lymph follicles. It consisted of aggregations of lymphoid cells that were mainly located within the vallate lingual papillae.