Document Detail

Scaling of organ subunits in adult mammals and birds: a model.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8624909     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Members of one class of organs--including kidney and lung--consist chiefly of repeating units, or subunits, similar in size and shape. Across species, both the number and size of repeating units may increase with increasing organ size. A simple model is proposed, relating the scaling of unit-size and unit-number to that of organ volume. The model makes three structural assumptions, the crucial one, biologically speaking, being that the numerical density of repeating units scales as does organ surface-to-volume ratio. Data were collected from the literature bearing on the number, diameter, total surface area and total volume of such repeating units (i.e., alveoli, air capillaries, renal tubules and glomeruli), for avian and mammalian lung and for mammalian kidney, each as a function of organ size. These data, after log-log transformation, were submitted to standard linear least squares regression analysis. The resultant slopes for nine different regression lines are in good agreement with the model predictions. This finding suggests, surprisingly, that organ scale-up, at least for selected organs, expressed in terms of repeating units, as a function of organ volume, in mammals and birds, and conceivably in other phyla, may be based on a small number of elementary structural principles.
J Prothero
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Physiology     Volume:  113     ISSN:  1096-4940     ISO Abbreviation:  Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A Physiol.     Publication Date:  1996 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-06-26     Completed Date:  1996-06-26     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9516062     Medline TA:  Comp Biochem Physiol A Physiol     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  97-106     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biological Structure, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Birds / anatomy & histology*
Capillaries / physiology
Kidney / anatomy & histology
Kidney Glomerulus / anatomy & histology
Lung / anatomy & histology
Mammals / anatomy & histology*
Models, Biological
Nephrons / anatomy & histology
Organ Size / physiology*
Pulmonary Alveoli / anatomy & histology
Regression Analysis
Surface Properties

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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