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Mucus Cells in the Digestive Tract in Prenatal Platyfish Larvae (Poeciliidae, Teleostei)

Leknes, I. L.
Anatomia, histologia, embryologia 2011 v.40 no.5 pp. 375-378
Xiphophorus, color, digestive tract, dyes, esophagus, galactosamine, glucosamine, histochemistry, larvae, lectins, mouth, mucins, mucus, pH, pharynx
With 1 figure SUMMARY: The appearance and histochemical properties of mucus cells in various parts of digestive tract in prenatal larvae of platyfish (Xiphophorus maculatus), a stomachless teleost, are described and compared. Such cells occurred regularly throughout the entire epithelial cell layer in mouth, pharynx, oesophagus and intestine in 6 mm long larvae i.e. approximately 1 week before delivery, but were very scarce in 4 mm long larvae. The mucin in these cells was strongly stained by alcian blue at pH 2.5 and weakly coloured by this dye at pH 1.0. It displayed a clean blue colour after high iron diamine followed by alcian blue (pH 2.5), except in some very few cells which displayed a purple‐brown colour after this treatment. The mucus cells displayed various colours between purple‐blue and magenta when the alcian blue (pH 2.5) was followed by periodic acid‐Schiff (PAS) solution; the magenta‐coloured cells were mainly confined to oesophagus. Together these findings suggest that the mucin in the digestive tract of prenatal platyfish consists mainly of non‐sulphated, carboxylated glycoconjugates. The observations from the present lectin histochemistry suggest that the amount of galactosamine and glucosamine in this mucin varies much from cell to cell. Also, the various colours after PAS suggest a significant cellular heterogeneity in the mucus cell population. This may reflect different stages in development and maturation or a true and permanent cellular heterogeneity, suggesting that this mucus is able to play a number of important roles even a week before the larvae start to feed and digest.