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Fetal thorax, light micrograph

Fetal thorax, light micrograph


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Light microscopy of a cross-section of the thorax of the fetal rat. Central is the heart with blood-filled chambers and great vessels. Fetal lungs are growing into the chest cavity and each shows the branching respiratory tree and pulmonary blood vessels. The two large empty structures represent the left and right bronchi entering the lungs. Between the bronchi is the oesophagus. The space between the lungs and the chest wall will form the pleural cavity and the outer pleural membrane is noted close to the thoracic wall muscles near the cut ribs. Developing vertebral body and rib seen behind contain cartilage stained blue, with part of the spinal cord located in the vertebral canal. Magnification x12 when printed at 10 cm.

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