Anatomy and Embryology

, Volume 160, Issue 3, pp 263–274 | Cite as

Tight junctions in the ependyma of the spinal cord of the urodele Pleurodeles waltlii

  • A. J. Zamora
  • D. Thiesson


The ependymal junction pattern in the spinal cord of postmetamorphic ribbed newts has been studied, using transmission electron microscopy of ultrathin sections of normal animals and of animals perfused through the IVth ventricle with lanthanum. Contrary to what has been observed in mammalian CNS, the ependyma of the urodelan spinal cord is furnished with tight junctions that seal the luminal border of the terminal bars. These occludens junctions are made up of two to seven punctate fusions of the plasma membranes. Lanthanum tracer remains restricted inside the lumen of the central canal, being stopped at the first punctate fusion on its way through the intercellular clefts. Beyond this point, the extracellular space contains no tracer material. Besides tight junctions, intermediate, desmosomal and gap junctions are also present. Gap junctions and desmosomes are not present in CSF-contacting neurons. It is suggested that ependyma with occluding junctions (special ependyma) overlay the regions of the CNS where the ependymal cells significantly modify the composition of both intercellular and cerebrospinal fluids, through secretory, transporting and permeability control activities.

Key words

Spinal cord Ependyma Tight junctions Urodela Lanthanum 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Zamora
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Thiesson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Unité de Recherches NeurobiologiquesINSERM-U 6MarseilleFrance
  2. 2.CNRS-GR. 45MarseilleFrance

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