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Chloride cells and pavement cells in gill epithelia of Acipenser naccarii: ultrastructural modifications in seawater‐acclimated specimens

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Modifications in the chloride (mitochondria‐rich) and pavement cells of the gill epithelia of the Adriatic sturgeon Acipenser naccarii after their transfer under hypertonic environmental conditions (salinity 35) were examined by light and electron microscopy. In contrast to freshwater specimens, seawater‐acclimated fish showed a marked increase in the number and size of chloride cells. Ultrastructural modifications included: presence of a slightly invaginated apical crypt, a darker cytoplasm, a more compact tubular system, a major increase in cisternae from Golgi apparatus stacks and flattened‐out sacs with dilated ends that produced an increase in lateral and basal cell surfaces. All these changes indicated enhanced cellular activity. Pavement cells, which largely covered the chloride cells on the gill filament and lamella, exhibited a complex system of microridges on their apical surface. Typical features included numerous desmosomes that characterized the intercellular junction, and the presence in the apical cytoplasm of bundles of filaments and of electro‐dense vesicles in freshwater fish or clear vesicles in seawater‐acclimated animals.

Keywords: Acipenser naccarii; chloride cells; gills; osmoregulation; pavement cells; ultrastructure

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Cell Biology, School of Sciences, University of Granada, E-18 071, Granada, Spain, 2: Department of Animal Biology and Ecology, School of Sciences, University of Granada, E-18 071, Granada, Spain and 3: Department of Research and Development “Sierra Nevada” Fish Farm, 18 313 Riofrío, Granada, Spain

Publication date: February 1, 2004


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