The blood-water pathway in respiratory lamellae of teleostean gills consists of an epithelial layer one or two cells thick, a basal lamina and a thin layer of cytoplasm which lines the blood lacunae. This layer of cytoplasm is formed by flange-like extensions of the pillar cells. The resulting location of the pillar cell perikarya between the surfaces of the blood lacunae is probably of paramount importance for maintenance of the flattened form of the lamellae.
Collagenous bundles traverse the pillar cells within tubes formed by infolding of the cellular surface. These bundles, which are oriented normal to the flattened aspect of the lamellae, no doubt provide further protection against distension or collapse of the blood spaces. A compartment filled with collagenous tissue is interposed between the basal lamina and the lining layer of the lacunae in some of the species studied.
Regulation of blood flow to the respiratory surfaces is thought to result in part from contraction of the pillar cells. This contractility presumably resides in tracts of filaments which course through the cytoplasm of the pillar cells parallel to the collagenous bundles. Since nervous tissue has not been demonstrated within the gill lamellae it is possible that contraction of the pillar cells is under some form of hormonal control, although existence of local control mechanisms (e.g. self-stimulation of the cells as a result of anoxia) is not excluded.
Within the limited number of species studied, the structure of the blood-water pathway does not appear to be correlated with the characteristics of the normal habitat of a particular species.
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This work was performed during the tenure of a post doctoral traineeship under USPHS Grant 5 T 1 GM-136 to the Department of Biological Structure, University of Washington.
Particular thanks are due Dr. John H. Luft of the University of Washington for his advice and criticism while this work was in progress and to Drs. Douglas Kelly, James Koehler and Daniel Szollosi for critical assistance with the manuscipt.
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Newstead, J.D. Fine structure of the respiratory lamellae of teleostean gills. Zeitschrift für Zellforschung 79, 396–428 (1967). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00335484
- Local Control
- Control Mechanism
- Basal Lamina
- Nervous Tissue
- Epithelial Layer