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Revista chilena de anatomía

versión impresa ISSN 0716-9868

Rev. chil. anat. v.18 n.2 Temuco  2000 

SPLEEN (Sus scrofa domesticus)

(Sus scrofa domesticus)

* José Ricardo de Carvalho Pinto e Silva 
* Márcia Regina Fernandes Boaro Martins 


SILVA, J. R. C. & MARTINS, M. R. F . B. Comparative study of arterial vascularization in swine spleen (Sus scrofa domesticus). Rev. Chil. Anat., 18(2):223-226, 2000.

SUMMARY: We studied the arterial vascularization of 20 swine spleens injected with neoprene latex and fixed with a 10% aqueous solution of formalin and dissected. The results show that the splenic artery crosses the organ in the hilar region, dividing the spleen into 3 vascularization regions: dorsal, middle and ventral.

KEY WORDS: 1. Anatomy; 2. Swine; 3. Spleen. INTRODUCTION

Information about the generic aspects of arterial vascularization of the spleen of different species, especially cats, dogs, cattle, goats, sheep and wild animals is available in the literature. ZIMMERL (1930) studied domestic animals in general, and REIGHARD & JENNINGS (1935), FAUJOR (1948), LEWIS (1957), and HOLZCHUH (1977) studies cats using corrosion and dissection techniques. BOER et al. (1972) and EVANS & CHRISTENSEN (1979) studied dogs, BOMBONATO et al. (1989) studied sheep, and SILVA (1999) studied opossums.

In the present study we compared the arterial vascularization of the spleen of pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) to that of some of the above species.


We injected the splenic artery of 20 spleens of Landrace and Large White pigs with neoprene latex 650 containing a red pigment. The pieces were immersed in 10% formalin for fixation and later dissected.


We observed that the splenic artery provides collateral vessels or vessels resulting from its bifurcation which, together with the artery itself, after countless divisions are destined to the dorsal, medial and ventral portions of the spleen after sending branches to nearby structures (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 - View of the parietal surface of the pig spleen (Sus scrofa domesticus) demonstrating the dorsal (DR), middle (MR) and ventral (VR) regions.

The preparations revealed that the above regions depending on vessels originating from different points of the splenic artery were separated, characterizing the existence of three distinct regions in terms of irrigation in the porcine spleen (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 - View of the visceral surface of the pig spleen. The photograph shows the splenic artery (L) injected with neoprene latex and dissected, distributing branches to the dorsal (DR), middle (MR) and ventral (VR) regions. The stomach (S), gastric arteries (G) and left gastro-epiploic artery (GE) are also visible. 

With respect to the extension of these regions, we observed that their vascularization was not uniform and that the penetrating branches reached the organ on its visceral surface (Figs. 3 and 4). In all cases, the vessels reaching these territories sent contributions to the greater omentum, pancreas and stomach, particular outstanding being the gastro-epiploic artery which represents the continuation of the splenic artery (Figs. 2, 3 and 4).

Fig. 3 - View of the surface of the pig spleen showing the splenic artery distributing collateral branches (B) to the dorsal (DR), middle (MR) and ventral (VR) regions. The left gastro-epiploic artery (GE) can also be seen.
Fig. 4 - Close-up view of the visceral surface of the pig spleen showing the splenic artery (L) distributing branches to the dorsal (DR), middle (MR) and ventral (VR) regions.


Considering the scarcity of literature data about the arterial vascularization of the porcine spleen, we can only compare our findings with those reported for other animals. In the present study we used latex injection and dissection. RAYS (1982) also used this technique with good results in a study of the buffalo spleen, and SILVA used it in a study of opossums.

We did not use another technique for the recognition of small vessels inside the parenchyma since latex injection and dissection permitted good visualization of small vessels, as also reported by HOLZCHUH, RAYS and SILVA. In contrast, in a study of arterial vascular segments of buffaloes by a technique involving the injection of butyl butyrate and corrosion molds, GUPTA et al. (1978c) observed that the material did not fill the entire vascular network, especially the finer vessels, a fact that, according to RAYS and SILVA, may be related to the viscosity of the contrast utilized.

Keeping in mind the proper proportions and based on comparative anatomy, we discuss here some aspects referring to the arterial vascularization of the spleen of different species.

In studies on different species, GUPTA et al. (1978a) dogs, GUPTA et al (1978b, 1979) goats, GUPTA et al. (1978c, 1981) and RAYS et al. (1981a) goats, RAYS et al. (1981b) sheep, RAYS (1982) buffaloes, and SILVA opossums observed that in these animals the division of the spleen is made on the basis of arterial vascular distribution and of segmental arterial distribution through the organ, characterizing a variability in number of extra-hilar branches originating from the splenic artery in these species.

These investigators also refer to the spleen of these animals as having a segmentation based on arterial ramification, and in most cases they report a spleen pedicle of 1 to 5 vessels, which were considered by Rays to be primary and secondary.

In contrast, in the present study we observed that the splenic artery of pigs follows its own patterns, running through the entire hilus and supplying different branches to different regions.

Among the studies consulted in the literature, particularly interesting to us were those carried out on carnivores (dogs and cats) and that carried out on opossums by SILVA, since they reported results closer to our own.

ZIMMERL and EVANS & CHRISTENSEN consider the lienal artery to be the major branch, supplying small branches to different regions.

REIGHARD & JENNINGS and TAYLOR & WEBER (1958) reported that the spleen is irrigated by 2 branches, a cranial one and a caudal one, and CROUCH (1969) reported similar data, except that they mentioned a right and a left branch. In these cases, we cannot compare the data to ours, since the authors mentioned only two branches running to the organ. However, we can make comparisons with the data reported by ZIMMERL, SNOOK (1950), LEWIS, and SMALWOLD & SIS (1973), who mentioned countless branches without reporting details about the arrangement of these structures.

HOLZCHUH in a study on cats and BOMBONATO et al. in a study on wool-less sheep, in a more detailed view of these vessels, observed collateral branches irrigating distinct regions with numerous penetrating branches, permitting a more detailed comparison of these vessels with those of swine which, in our opinion, have an extra-hilar position.

With respect to anastomoses, RAYS, in a study on buffaloes, detected fine branches of the capillary network close to the hilus in different segments of the primary and secondary branches.

In studies on the cat, HOLZCHUH detected important anastomoses between branches originating from the splenic artery and the left and right gastroepiploic arteries, short gastric arteries, collateral branches of the left gastric artery, and between vessels of the splenic artery itself.

We did not visualize anastomoses of the parenchymal vessels, but anastomoses were observed by BOSSI et al. (1909), CROUCH and FAUJOUR between short gastric arteries and pancreatic arteries, especially with respect to the gastroepiploic artery.

RESUMEN: Estudiamos la vascularización arterial de 20 bazos de suínos inyectados con neoprene latex, fijados con solución de formol 10% y disecados. Los resultados obtenidos mostraron a la arteria esplénica cruzando el órgano a nivel del hilio dividiendo el bazo en 3 regiones de vascularización: dorsal, media y ventral.

PALABRAS CLAVE: 1. Anatomía; 2. Suino; 3. Bazo. * Departamento de Anatomia, IB Universidade Estadual Paulista ­ Botucatu / SP (UNESP), Brasil.

Dirección para correspondencia
Prof. Dr. José Ricardo de Carvalho Pinto e Silva
Departamento de Anatomia,
IB Universidade Estadual Paulista ­ Botucatu / SP (UNESP)
CEP: 18618-000


Recibido : 23-05-2000
Aceptado : 02-07-2000


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