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Ultrastructural changes in the gill epithelium of the green crab Carcinus maenas in relation to the external salinity
Compère, P.; Wanson, S.; Pequeux, A.; Gilles, R.; Goffinet, G. (1989). Ultrastructural changes in the gill epithelium of the green crab Carcinus maenas in relation to the external salinity. Tissue Cell 21(2): 299-318. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/0040-8166(89)90073-6
In: Tissue and cell. Oliver and Boyd: Edinburgh. ISSN 0040-8166, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Crustacea [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Gills; osmoregulation; Carcinus maenas; Crustacea

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Abstract
    Observation of semi-thin and ultrathin sections performed in the gills of green crabs (Carcinus maenas) kept in 100% and in dilute 30% sea water respectively reveals marked differences between the six anterior and the three posterior pairs of gills. The anterior gill lamellae are almost entirely lined by a thin pavement epithelium (0.9 to 3 µm thick) which does not undergo any noticeable change when crabs are acclimated from full to dilute sea water. This supports the view it is chiefly involved in the respiratory function. In addition to the pavement epithelium, the posterior gills exhibit small areas corresponding to a thick prismatic epithelium (10 µm) the ultrastructure of which is similar to that of most of the so-called ‘salt transporting epithelia’. When submitted to reduced external salinity, this epithelium undergoes structural changes consisting of elaboration of an extensive apical plasma membrane infolding system, enlargement of the subcuticular compartment and close association of mitochondria with basolateral membrane infoldings. Pilaster cells exhibit ultrastructural features of either thin (respiratory) or thick (salt transporting) epithelial differentiation according to their localization within the gill. Their peculiar organization suggests they ensure, in addition, mechanical reinforcement of the gill lamellae against blood hydrostatic pressure. The fact that salt-transporting epithelium areas do not exceed, at most, 30% of the total lamellar surface is probably related to the weak osmoregulatory capabilities of the shore crab.

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