, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 42-66

Histology and regeneration of the radula of Pomacea bridgesi (Gastropoda, Prosobranchia)

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Summary

Histology, physiological regeneration, and degradation of the taenioglossan prosobranch radula and its concomitant epithelia were studied by light and electron microscopy (TEM, SEM), electron microprobe analysis, and autoradiography. Taenioglossa have seven multicellular odontoblastic cushions which produce the tooth matrix by apocrine secretion; many long microvilli are also incorporated. In contrast to pulmonates, the odontoblasts of prosobranchs are capable of division, and their mitoses contribute to the expansion of the cushions, but presumably also to the displacement of degenerating odontoblasts. The seven cushions are isolated from each other by separation cells. The radular membrane is produced from microvilli of membranoblasts and a substance secreted at the base of microvilli.

Strands of the supraradular epithelium subsequently move in between the teeth and finally enclose them completely. They effect the hardening and mineralization of the teeth. The strands move together with the radula towards the anterior and are extruded at the opening of the radular sheath; their degeneration, however, has already started in the middle section of the sheath. Epithelial cells are produced by two completely separated mitotic centres which lie dorsolaterally at the end of the sheath.

In the subradular epithelium, mitotic activity is scattered over the posterior half of the sheath but is not found in the region where the supramedian radula tensor muscle is inserted. The epithelial cells move forward, but at a much lower rate than the radula. At the opening of the sheath the subradular membrane is generated, while cells of the subradular epithelium lying between the lamellae of the subradular membrane are extruded.

The subradular membrane is limited to the functional part of the radula. It is situated on the distal radular epithelium, which is obviously not a continuation of the subradular epithelium. In test animals treated with tritiated thymidine, there is a very strong stationary centre of labeled cells at the beginning of the epithelium, but so far no mitoses have been found in this centre and the labeled cells do not move on continually. In the middle of the distal epithelium mitoses do occur, and the labeled cells permit the assumption that these cells do not migrate at all to the anterior end. At least in Prosobranchia, the distal radular epithelium does not transport the radula to its degradation zone. The transport mechanism for the radula is still unknown.