Microanatomical structure of the dog-faced water snake (Cerberus rynchops) from Thailand: A functional unit of the kidney

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Lamai Thongboon
Sinlapachai Senarat
Jes Kettratad
Apinya Huskul
Wannee Jiraungkoorskul
Pisit Poolprasert
Woranop Sukparangsi
Nattarin Wongthamwanich


Dog-faced water snake (Cerberus rynchops) is a well-known species inhabiting along coastal area in particular mangrove forests in Thailand. To delineate microstructure of kidney, mammalian species has been mostly used as an animal model, but its structures in snakes are still much less discussed in any literature. For providing evolutionary perspectives on reptilian kidney and comprehensive knowledge of vertebrate kidney, here we aimed to examine microstructure of kidney and uriniferous tubule in the dog-faced water snake using histological and histochemical techniques, which might be able to use as a new animal model for observing anatomy and physiology of squamates. Based on histological sections, several uriniferous tubules in the kidney were observed with differential characterizations. Each uriniferous tubule consists of a urine-forming nephron and a collecting duct. A nephron can be further subdivided into a renal corpuscle (a glomerulus and a Bowman's capsule) and a renal tubule. Three distinguishable parts of convoluted tubule segments under light microscopic level included proximal, intermediate and distal convoluted tubules. All segments of renal tubules were comprised of simple cuboidal epithelium between lumen and basal lamina; however, each tubular segment exhibited some histologically distinct features. The enlarged tubular size (approximately 50 µm in diameter) and the presence of apical brush border with clear PAS staining were detected in proximal convoluted tubule; whereas, the apical brush border could not be found in the intermediate tubule. In addition, collecting duct and metanephric duct (ureter) exhibited the clear distinct epithelium structure, compared to other renal tubular segments. Taken together, the histological study of kidney in dog-faced water snakes not only provides an insight into snakes/reptilian metanephrosderived urinary system but also will potentially lead to more understanding of ultrastructure and physiology of snakes in estuaries of Thailand.


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Thongboon, L., Senarat, S., Kettratad, J., Huskul, A., Jiraungkoorskul, W., Poolprasert, P., Sukparangsi, W., & Wongthamwanich, N. (2017). Microanatomical structure of the dog-faced water snake (Cerberus rynchops) from Thailand: A functional unit of the kidney. Veterinary Integrative Sciences, 15(3), 189–197. Retrieved from https://he02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/vis/article/view/145701
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