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Gentile, Arcangelo; Bolcato, Marilena; Militerno, Gianfranco; Rademacher, Günter; Desrochers, Andre and Grandis, Annamaria (2019): Heterotopy ("Error loci") of the spiral loop of the ascending colon in cattle.
In: PLOS One 14(4), e0215402 [PDF, 2MB]


The term heterotopy of the spiral colon encompasses a dysmorphological condition in which the spiral loops of the ascending colon (SLACs) do not form an orderly spiraling mass adjacent to the left side of the mesojejunum. As a consequence, the spiral loops are spread over a larger surface, making them more or less movable. It has been hypothesized that the abnormal position of the spiral loops of the ascending colon might constitute a predisposing factor for an intestinal obstruction or an ileus condition. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the anatomy of the spiral loops of the ascending colon in a population of healthy calves and to determine the prevalence of dysmorphism. The investigation was carried out on 1113 slaughtered veal calves. In 472 out of the 1113 calves, the spiral loops showed conformational aspects different from what has so far been described as normal in reference textbooks. In 91 calves the condition was definitely considered a pathological deviation from normality: in fact, the spiral colon had lost its typical spiral shape with random spacing between the loops, and it was nearly or completely detached from the mesojejunum. The lack of a broad attachment of the spiral loops of the ascending colon to the mesentery could provoke an alteration of the intestinal centre of gravity, enhancing the already asymmetrical distribution of weight between the jejunum and the descending colon.

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