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J Exp Biol. 2008 Mar;211(Pt 5):766-72. doi: 10.1242/jeb.007658.

Elasticity, unexpected contractility and the identification of actin and myosin in lobster arteries.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Lobster arteries, which exhibit non-uniform elasticity when stretched, have a trilaminar organization. The inner layer is an elastic connective tissue and the outer layer is a collagenous connective tissue; the middle layer of an artery is an aggregation of cells containing microfilaments. Arterial cells possess actin, myosin and tropomyosin. Except for the dorsal abdominal artery, striated muscle cells are not evident in the walls of any of the vessels. The neurotransmitter glutamic acid and the neurohormone proctolin elicit slow circumferential contractions in all of the arteries leaving the lobster heart. Only the dorsal abdominal artery contracts when stimulated electrically. Longitudinal strips of the arteries do not respond to either drugs or electrical stimulation. Arterial contraction will have profound effects on resistance to blood flow and may be an important component of the control mechanisms regulating blood distribution.

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