Neuroepithelial cells in fish gill primary lamellae
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Formaldehyde-induced fluorescence reveals numerous serotonin-containing cells within the primary epithelium of the fish gill. These cells are isolated or clustered and are supported by the epithelial basal lamina. They never reach the external medium and are found on the internal side of the primary lamellae, facing the respiratory water flow. With the electron microscope, these cells are found to contain dense-cored vesicles (DCV) of 80-100 nm. Nerve profiles are consistently found close to DCV cells. After having crossed the basal lamina, nerve fibers form endings on DCV-containing cells. These endings display both small clear vesicles and DCV and are in direct contact with DCV cells. Specific membrane alterations are suggestive of efferent synapses. These cells are considered neuroepithelial cells, similar to those found within the wall of lung airways in mammals and submammalian vertebrates. Structure and localization are suggestive of a tissue O2 sensor.
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