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Anat Histol Embryol. 2009 Nov;38(6):424-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0264.2009.00963.x. Epub 2009 Sep 28.

Structural and histochemical studies on the teleostean bulbus arteriosus.

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  • 1Faculty of Engineering and Science, Sogn og Fjordane University College, Box 133, N-6851 Sogndal, Norway.


The structure and histochemical properties of the bulbus arteriosus in two species from an evolutionary old teleost family, Characidae, and in three modern teleosts, family Cichlidae, are described. The bulbar wall was composed of an outer layer, a middle layer and a strongly folded inner layer covered by a thick, granule-rich endothelial cell layer towards the lumen. One of the cichlid species (Thorichthys meeki) was injected intraperitoneally with horse ferritin; the endothelial cell layer of the heart atrium and ventricle displayed high ability to endocytose ferritin particles from the blood stream, but the corresponding layer in the bulbus arteriosus displayed no such uptake. This finding suggests that the bulbar endothelial cell layer plays no scavenger or immunological blood cleansing roles in this species. The bulbar endothelial cell granules were strongly coloured by periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) in the present cichlids, but weakly coloured by PAS in the present characids. These cell layers were uncoloured by alkaline carmine in ethanol in both cichlids and characids. The negative carmine test combined with a positive PAS test for the bulbar endothelial cell layer in the present cichlids indicates that these cells contain only small amounts of polysaccharides. The weak PAS-colouring for the bulbar endothelial cell layer in characids indicates a very low content of sugars in these cells. These findings together with the fact that this cell layer in the present cichlids and characids was nearly uncoloured when treated with orcein, Heidenhain's Azan or Schmorl's solutions for elastic materials suggest that the bulbar endothelial granules do not play any role in the blood cleansing or in the rebuilding or maintenance of the ground substance or elastic material in the bulbar wall. Probably, the granules in the bulbar endothelial cell layer in the present species contain mainly proteins, connected to some PAS-positive polysaccharides to enhance their solubility.

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