The torpedine electric fish Narcine brasiliensis has two morphologically distinct electric organs (main and accessory) which also differ with respect to a number of electrophysiological properties. The fine structure of the electroplaques of these organs has been examined by electron microscopy and by a histochemical method for localizing esterase activity with a high degree of resolution. In both kinds of electroplaques the innervated surface (ventral in those of the main organ, dorsal in those of the accessory) is the only site of esterase activity. The latter is further confined to the regions of synaptic contact between vesicle-containing axon terminals and the electroplaque membrane. The synaptic apparatus is similar to, but less elaborate than, that of neuromuscular junctions. The axon terminals and electroplaque membranes are free of connective tissue envelopments. The membrane of the uninnervated surfaces forms a continuum with a dense canalicular network which penetrates deeply into the 7 µ thick electroplaques of the main organ. The canalicular network has about the same thickness in the 20 µ electroplaques of the accessory organ. Except for this difference, the two kinds of cells appear to have the same fine structure. This finding is discussed in relation to the electrophysiological data on functional differences.
ELECTRON MICROSCOPIC AND HISTOCHEMICAL COMPARISON OF THE TWO TYPES OF ELECTROPLAQUES OF NARCINE BRASILIENSIS
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Allen Wachtel, Robert Mathewson, Harry Grundfest; ELECTRON MICROSCOPIC AND HISTOCHEMICAL COMPARISON OF THE TWO TYPES OF ELECTROPLAQUES OF NARCINE BRASILIENSIS . J Biophys and Biochem Cytol 1 December 1961; 11 (3): 663–675. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.11.3.663
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