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J Comp Neurol. 1995 Oct 23;361(3):441-50.

"Satellite cells" and nerve terminals in the crayfish opener muscle visualized with fluorescent dyes.

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Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Nerve terminals and associated cells on the muscle's surface were visualized in the crayfish opener muscle with several fluorescent dyes in conjunction with confocal microscopy and conventional fluorescence microscopy. The nerve terminals of the excitatory and inhibitory axons were best seen with 4-diethylaminostyryl-N-methylpyridinium iodide (4-Di-2-Asp). This dye is selectively accumulated in mitochondria, which are numerous both in the axons and in synapse-bearing terminal varicosities. Muscle nuclei were also clearly visualized, because they excluded 4-Di-2-Asp but were stained by acridine orange (AO). A positive attraction between muscle nuclei and nerve terminals was evident by visual inspection and was confirmed by spatial statistics. Additional flat cells on the muscle's surface appeared as bright rings with elongated processes that were often close to or overlapped nearby nerve terminals. The structure of these cells was established by electron microscopy after labeling them with fluorescent polystyrene beads, which could be found over structures on the muscle surface in sections of embedded specimens. The flat surface cells were distinct from peripheral glial cells closely associated with axons and nerve terminals. Nevertheless, spatial statistics showed that the surface cells were grouped near nerve terminals. They occupied a small fraction of the muscle cell's surface. Their functional role has not been determined in crustacean muscles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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