Tracheal bifurcation located at proximal third of oesophageal length in Sprague Dawley rats of all ages
Levrat’s rat model is often the first choice for basic studies of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. The position of the tracheal bifurcation represents the preferred location for the high-intrathoracic anastomosis following oesophagectomy for cancer and is thus of importance in basic research of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. In addition, it is also the typical location for trachea-oesophageal fistulae in congenital oesophageal atresia and its rat model. We thus analysed whether the position of the tracheal bifurcation would be affected by a rat’s growth throughout life. We analysed absolute and relative carinal position of the tracheal bifurcation and its relationship to oesophageal length in two cohorts of Sprague Dawley rats (RjHan:SD) of both sexes: one consisted of 30 eight-week old rats and the other of 20 rats aged between 15 and 444 days. We analysed their relationship by Pearson’s r and univariate linear regression. Bootstrap confidence intervals were calculated for all calculated coefficients. Absolute carinal position correlated with oesophageal length in the eight-week old cohort (r=0.4, 95% CI: 0.08-0.71, p=0.015) and those of different ages (r=0.92, 95% CI: 0.77-0.96, p=0.0066). Absolute carinal position increased with oesophageal length in both cohorts (F(1,28)=5.56; p=0.0256 and F(1,18)=94.93; p<0.0001 respectively). Consequently, relative tracheal bifurcation position was not influenced by oesophageal length in both cohorts (F(1,28)=2.49; p=0.1257 and F(1,18)=1.92; p=0.183). Absolute carinal position increased with oesophageal length, but relative position remained constant at around 30% of proximal oesophageal length throughout life.