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Morphological Characteristics of the Developing Cecum of Japanese Quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica)

  • Aalaa M. AbuAli (a1), Doaa M. Mokhtar (a2), Reda A. Ali (a1), Ekbal T. Wassif (a1) and K. E. H. Abdalla (a2)...


The current investigation was carried out to record the final stages of the development of both middle and distal parts of quail ceca, Coturnix coturnix japonica to understand the role of ceca in digestion, immune system, and absorption. The cellular and subcellular structures, including epithelial cell height, microvillus surface area, the proportion of goblet cells, the thickness of muscle layer, and cecum diameter showed great variations during the development. An undeveloped smooth muscularis mucosa was observed for the first time on the ED5. Primordia of glands were observed on the ED7. On the ED15, the middle part exhibited two shapes of mucosal villi: tongue-shaped villi and U-shaped. The plicae and crypts of Lieberkühn were demonstrated on the hatching day. The lymphatic tissues appeared in the wall of both parts of the ceca at the 4 weeks of age. Scanning electron microscopy revealed a great difference in the mucosal surface between different regions. Telocytes were observed in-between the muscle fibers and formed a network during the post-hatching period. Because of fermentation and other bacterial or chemical processes that have been shown to occur in the ceca, this study supports two hypotheses: the cecal development is related to diet and the cecal epithelium act as a site for primary absorption of nutrients or for re-absorption of electrolytes or amino acids derived from the urine.


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*Author for correspondence: Doaa M. Mokhtar, E-mail:


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