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Acta Morphol Neerl Scand. 1984 Jul;22(2):123-31.

Gap junctions in the heart of the adult Protopterus aethiopicus.


In thin sections and in freeze-fracture replicas small and sparse gap junctions appear to be developed on the longitudinal plasma membrane of Protopterus cardiac cells near a macula or fascia adhaerens. By thin-section electron microscopy, they had septalaminar profiles with a length between 0.042 and 0.260 micron. In freeze-fracture images they appear on the P-fracture face as maculate particle aggregations with complementary pits on the E-fracture face. Particles with a central intercellular channel could be observed. The average center-to-center distance between neighbouring particles or pits is 10.05 +/- 1.87 nm (N = 2429). The diameter of the junctional maculae in replicas lies between 0.037 and 0.229 nm. The particle packing density increases in larger maculate aggregations, while particle-free areas emerge which could be related to the degradation or reformation of gap junctions Atypical configurations of gap junctions observed in the myocardium of lower vertebrates are rarely encountered in this primitive vertebrate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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