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Cell Tissue Res. 2005 Jan;319(1):153-65. Epub 2004 Oct 27.

Ontogeny of the antennal glands in the crayfish Astacus leptodactylus (Crustacea, Decapoda): anatomical and cell differentiation.

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Equipe Adaptation Ecophysiologique et Ontogenèse, UMR 5171 GPIA, Université Montpellier II, cc 092, 34095,Montpellier cedex, France.


The ontogeny of the antennal glands was studied during the embryonic and post-embryonic development of Astacus leptodactylus. The future glands arising from undifferentiated columnar cells were detectable at the metanauplius stage EI 150 microm (EI: eye index; approximately 440 microm at hatching). The tubule and labyrinth differentiated in embryos at EI 190 microm, and the bladder and coelomosac at EI 250 microm. At EI 350 microm, the tubule lengthened and divided into proximal and distal sub-regions. In later stages, the gland retained the same morpho-anatomy but the differentiation and size of each part increased. The cells of the coelomosac displayed the cytological features of podocytes in late embryonic development at EI 440 microm. Only small apical microvilli and a few mitochondria were observable in the labyrinth cells at EI 250 microm; by EI 440 microm, these cells presented well-shaped apical microvilli, formed bodies, basal infoldings and mitochondria. In the cells of the tubules and bladder, mitochondria and basal infoldings occurred at EI 440 microm and EI 250 microm, respectively. The differentiation of the tubules and bladder cells suggested that they were involved in active transport at EI 440 microm. Following hatching, the differentiation of the cells and the size of the glands increased. The ontogeny of the antennal glands thus starts in early embryos, the specific cellular functional features being differentiated in the various parts of the glands by EI 440 microm. The antennal glands are probably functional just before hatching, i.e., before the juveniles are confronted with the low osmolality of freshwater.

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