The hagfish retina: Fine structure of retinal cells in Myxine glutinosa, L., with special reference to receptor and epithelial cells

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The retina of the atlantic hagfish, Myxine glutinosa, displays at the ultrastructural level several structures which in the retina of higher vertebrates are criteria of function. Agranular vesicles, which strongly resemble synaptic vesicles, are found at the receptor base, either evenly distributed in the cytoplasm or aggregated near membrane densities. Moreover, the cytoplasm is rich in glycogen and mitochondria which indicate a metabolic activity.

The epithelial cells differ from pigment epithelial cells in higher vertebrates essentially in two respects. The basal surface does not display infoldings and there are no pigment granules.

Observations are also reported on the inner layers of the retina. Different types of cell bodies and processes are described as well as follicle-like structure.

This work was supported in part by grants 2124 and 2127-36 from the Swedish Natural Science Research Council and in part by grants from the University of Stockholm (Fonden för främjande av ograduerade forskares vetenskapliga verksamhet) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Science (Hjalmar Théels fond).
I am indebted to Dr. Bertil Swedmark, Kristinebergs Zoologiska Station, for provision of material, to Dr. Gunnar Fridberg and Dr. Ragnar Olsson for valuable discussions during this work, and to Dr. Tudor Barnard for critically reading the manuscript.