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Fine structure of soft and hard tissues involved in eye migration in metamorphosing Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus).

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  • 1Division of Applied Biosciences, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


The body of a Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) changes from a symmetrical to an asymmetrical form during metamorphosis. To obtain detailed information on the mechanisms of the migration of the right eye to the left side, soft and hard tissues in the head of larval flounders were examined using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Retrorbital vesicles (Rvs) are pairs of sac-like structures under the eyes. It has been suggested that the asymmetrical development of Rvs, with the right (blind) one being bigger than the left, is the driving force behind eye migration. The present study revealed that the ultrastructure of the Rv sheath is quite similar to that of a lymphatic capillary. Thus, it is possible that the Rv is a part of the lymph system, and is probably related to the secondary vascular system in teleosts. If we assume that the Rv sheath has a high permeability to liquid, similar to lymphatic capillaries, it is not plausible that the active expansion of the Rv pushes the eyeball. On the other hand, the pseudomesial bar (Pb) is a bone that is unique to flounders and is present only on the right (blind) side. At the beginning of eye migration, an aggregation of fibroblast-like cells is observed in the dermis under the right eye, where the Pb will subsequently be formed. These cells have a well-developed rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER) and mitochondria, and are probably responsible for formation of the thick layers of collagen fibrils around them. Since it is unlikely that the active expansion of the Rv causes eye migration, the role played by the Pb and its rudiment becomes more significant in right eye migration in the Japanese flounder becomes more significant.

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