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Tissue Cell. 1987;19(1):119-34.

Diffusion barriers in silkmoth sensory epithelia: application of lanthanum tracer to olfactory sensilla of Antheraea polyphemus and Bombyx mori.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen, Federal Republic of Germany.


The distribution of diffusion barriers in silkmoth olfactory sensilla has been investigated with ionic lanthanum. The tracer was applied from the apical side of the sensory epithelium by first pinching off the hair tips and then dipping the antennal branches into the La(NO(3))(3) solution. The tracer neither passed the apical septate junctions between the dendrite and the thecogen cell nor those between thecogen, trichogen, and tormogen cells, nor the tight contact between the apical membrane of the tormogen cell and the cuticle. After perfusing the hemolymph space with La(NO(3))(3) solution, the tracer was found in the clefts between the thecogen, trichogen, tormogen, and epidermis cells, but not in those between the receptor cells and the thecogen cell, or between the axon and the glial envelope. Lanthanum neither entered the receptor-lymph space nor the subcuticular space. Therefore, (i) receptor-lymph space, subcuticular space, and hemolymph space are isolated from each other, and (ii) the cleft between thecogen and sensory cell is separated from the hemolymph as well as from the receptor-lymph spaces. Furthermore, the results indicate that pleated septate junctions form the diffusion barriers in silkmoth olfactory sensilla.


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