Ultrastructure of a complex epithelial system: the pharyngeal lining of the larval lamprey Petromyzon marinus

Journal of Morphology
J Mallatt, R L Ridgway


Electron microscopy shows that the pharyngeal lining of the larval lamprey Petromyzon marinus is a structurally complex epithelial system that can be separated into eight epithelial types: gill lamellar, gill interlamellar, goblet cell, protective, terminal (taste) bud, preciliated, ciliated in tracts, and ciliated in grooves. Furthermore, these epithelial types encompass at least sixteen different cell types based on ultrastructure and, in some cases, correlative histochemistry (PAS, Alcian blue). Common to nearly all the epithelial types are basal cells and intermediate cells. These two cell types are seen as undifferentiated. Among mature cells, structural specialization as proceeded in three directions: 1) elaboration of mitochondria, probably related to molecular transport (ion-uptake cells, chloride cells); 2) ciliogenesis (preciliated and ciliated cell types); and 3) production of mucous secretory granules (mucous-platelet cells, goblet cells, superficial protective cells, columnar mucous cells, "cobblestone" cells, and marginal and dark cells in the terminal buds). Many of the functions of the cell types relate to the process of suspension feeding in this animal.


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Related Concepts

Electron Microscopy
Pharyngeal Structure

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