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J Anat. 2013 Aug;223(2):152-8. doi: 10.1111/joa.12065. Epub 2013 May 23.

Structural and ultrastructural features of the agouti tongue (Dasyprocta aguti Linnaeus, 1766).

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Departamento de Anatomia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The agouti (Dasyprocta aguti Linnaeus, 1766) is a wild rodent belonging to the family Dasyproctidae that is found throughout Brazil and feeds on fruits and seeds. The aim of the present study was to describe the following features of the tongue of agouti: its morphological structures, the three-dimensional characteristics of the lingual papillae surface, the connective tissue cores (CTCs) and the epithelial cell ultrastructure. Four types of papillae were observed on the dorsal surface of the tongue with a triangular shape: filiform, fungiform, foliate and vallate. Filiform papillae were distributed throughout the tongue surface, and removal of the epithelial surface revealed conical CTCs and multifilaments. Fungiform papillae were observed in the rostral and middle regions, whereas foliate papillae developed in pairs on the lateral margin of the caudal region. Removal of the epithelium in these regions revealed CTCs with parallel laminar conformation. Vallate papillae were arranged in a V-shape in the caudal region, and their CTCs ranged in shape from elongate to ovoid. The ultrastructural components of the dorsal epithelium were the basal, spinous, granular and keratinised layers. A broad area with cytoplasmic projections was identified in the interface region between the lamina propria and the basal layer. Flattened cells with intermediate filaments were observed in the transitional region between spinous and granular layers. The keratinised layer was composed of superimposed epithelial cells where desmosomes and cell-surface microridges were observed. These structural features, including the three-dimensional aspects of the lingual papillae, the CTCs and the epithelial ultrastructure, indicate that when compared with other animals, particularly other rodent species, the morphological features of the tongue of agouti are relatively well developed, especially regarding foliate and vallate papillae.


connective tissue; electron microscopy; epithelium; lingual papillae; tongue

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