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The Gallbladder of the Electric Ray

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Abstract

The gallbladder of Torpedo marmorata exhibits a mucosal surface layer of simple columnar epithelium with very tall cholecystocytes. The apical domain of each cell has few microvilli, but many mucous vesicles that are secreted by exocytosis at the cell apices. The apical regions may also elongate and undergo self‐excision while shedding mucus and cell debris into the gallbladder lumen in a manner similar to that described in mammals as a result of sex steroid treatment to induce gallstones and to that found in the cholecystitis associated with cholelithiasis. Numerous small mitochondria, spherical to elongated, are distributed throughout the cells, while the nuclei are often located in the lower third of each cell. In the lower part of the cholecystocytes, large and very densely contrasted lysosomes can be found. All cells are tightly joined by junctional complexes, including long, highly contrasted desmosomes. The fibromuscular layer is made of a loose stroma with a limited muscular component and a poor blood supply. Large diameter blood vessels can only be found in the subserosal layer. It is hypothesized that the obligatorily carnivorous diet of this ureotelic fish has resulted in the evolution of a gallbladder ultrastructure resembling that found in cholecystitis but without the associated cholelithiasis. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 2: School for Professional Studies, Walsh University, Akron, Ohio

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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