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Abstract

Electron microscopic observations are reported on the intestine of the African lungfish, Protopterus aethiopicus. The lungfish has a spiral valve rather than a true stomach. Segments of mucosa from this area reveal, by transmission microscopy, that most cells have distinct striated borders with parallel microvilli. Fibrils within the core of the microvilli extend deeply into the cytoplasm. Microvilli on the surface of goblet cells are less regularly arranged than those of absorptive cells. Interspersed among the cells with striated borders are cells, similar in cytologic appearance except that they are covered with tufts of kinetocilia. By transmission electron microscopy, abnormal cilia having one complete complement of microtubules plus incomplete sets from other cilia which share some of the peripheral doublets of the complete cilium are enclosed by a single membrane. Cilia are usual in the intestine of many lower forms but ordinarily absent in higher vertebrates. Their functional significance in this primitive fish is unknown.