Morphology of the lymphoid organs of the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus.
Three spleens from two Odontoceti species were studied histo-anatomically. These spleens consisted of lymphatic nodules, the red pulp (broad sense), and the trabeculo-capsular system composed of the elasto-fibroleiomyocytic tissue. The periarterial lymphatic sheath (PALS) was unclear. Two layers, the intermediate zone and perivenous layer, were distinguishable in the red pulp (broad sense). The perivenous layer was narrow in width and consisted of venules and the intervascular reticular tissue rich in myeloid cells. The collecting and drainage veins were enclosed in this layer. The perivenous layer corresponds to the red pulp (narrow sense) of the common mammalian spleen and may be under involution in a process that probably relates to the remodelling of the intrasplenic vein. The pattern of the arteriovenous communication seemed to be closed, and no ellipsoids were noted around arterial terminals. The Odontoceti spleen has two venous drainage routes (hilar and capsular systems), suggesting a primitive state of evolution, and may be an additional example of the primitive mammalian spleen.