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Cell Tissue Res. 1979 Nov;202(2):213-30.

Keratinization of fish skin with special reference to the catfish Bagarius bagarius.


Histochemical reactions indicating keratinization have previously been demonstrated in parts of the epidermis of Bagarius bagarius. Fluorescence histochemistry and electron microscopy have now confirmed these results. Elevated areas of the epidermis are capped by a layer of dead cells with altered contents. On the outer aspect of these cells a dense layer, 18 nm thick, beneath the plasma membrane corresponds to the resistant envelope found in keratinized cells in tetrapod vertebrates. In Bagarius this layer does not extend to all faces of the keratinized cells, but a similar envelope has been detected in two other sites of piscine keratinized epidermis investigated, namely in the breeding tubercles of Phoxinus phoxinus and in the teeth of Lampetral fluviatilis. In the elevated areas of Bagarius-epidermis, the epithelial cells undergo progressive changes in cytoplasmic organization as they ;ecome more superficial. The second tier from the surface is sealed by tight junctions and is separated from the overlying keratinized cells by a sub-corneal space resembling that found in keratinized amphibian epidermis. Histochemical evidence of a high lipid content in the outer layers of the epidermis correlates with the presence of lipid inclusions and lamellated membranous profiles in the material studied by electron microscopy. Histochemical results show that the fin skin of Blennius pholis is not keratinized, but secretes a cuticle, histochemically reactive for both proteins and glycoproteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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