Ultrastructure of the male genital ducts of the clearnose skate Raja eglanteria

C. J P Jones, William C. Hamlett

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    Tissues from the male genital ducts of six specimens of the clearnose skate Raja eglanteria, comprising the Leydig gland, upper and lower epididymis, ductus deferens and seminal vesicle, were fixed and embedded for ultrastructural examination. In the Leydig gland, two types of columnar cells were identified, one bearing microvilli, a basal nucleus and evidence of active secretion with plentiful endoplasmic reticulum and numerous secretory droplets, and the other pyriform with cilia, and swathes of cytofilaments emanating from prominent desmosomes. Occasional crystalloid intramitochondrial inclusions were seen in the first type, with a periodicity of 24 nm. The upper epididymis was composed of cuboidal cells with microvilli and cilia and irregular electron dense granules, some of which were basally situated and extremely large, often within cells resembling intraepithelial leucocytes; such cells were also seen in the stroma underlying the epithelium. The lower epididymis cells also bore microvilli and cilia and were heavily vacuolated with fatty inclusions as well as the granule-laden leucocytes seen previously. In the ductus deferens, cells had masses of long cilia with occasional microvilli; endoplasmic reticulum was well developed, forming complex arrays with sparse secretory droplets and basal mitochondria. In the seminal vesicle there were two cell types, the most common having long cilia and short microvilli and an occasional, paler cell with supranuclear accumulations of small, round mitochondria. These ultrastructural appearances have been related to cell glycosylation and functions including protein secretion, water absorption and waste removal, and illustrate how structure and function vary down the length of the genital tract. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1018-1029
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


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