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J Neurochem. 1985 Mar;44(3):825-34.

Elemental composition and water content of neuron and glial cells in the central nervous system of the North American medicinal leech (Macrobdella decora).


Elemental (Na, P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Mg) composition and water content of neurons and glial cells of the leech (Macrobdella decora) were determined by x-ray microanalysis of frozen hydrated and dried section techniques. Results are reported as elemental mass fractions (mass/mass) and water content as percent mass. Specific cell compartments and cell types had distinct elemental patterns and water content which suggests that chemical composition of specific cell types is unique and may represent an expression of cell differentiation analogous to morphological specialization. Water content of cells was also cell specific and ranged from 55% (neurons) to 90% (vacuolated zone of glial cells). K and Na were present in concentrations greater than predicted by ion-selective microelectrode measurements, indicating that not all the K and Na were simultaneously accessible to such electrodes.

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