Yadav, L., Sengar, M., Zaccone, D. and Gopesh, A. 2011. Paraneuronal pseudobranchial neurosecretory cells in scorpion catfish Heteropneustes fossilis: an environment scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope study. —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 00: 1–8.
Pseudobranchial neurosecretory system (PNS), found in the gill region of certain groups of teleosts, falls under the category of the ‘diffuse neuroendocrine system’ (DNES). The cells belonging to the system share morpho-functional features with the paraneuronal cells observed in respiratory tract and airway surfaces of higher vertebrates. On the basis of the experimental observations, a role in condition of hypoxia has been recorded for this system. In an attempt to elucidate the ultrastructure of pseudobranchial neurosecretory cells, present investigation was undertaken using environment scanning electron microscope (ESEM) and TEM in an air-breathing catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis. The external morphology of PNS under ESEM appeared as a mass of cells supplied with nerves and blood capillaries. Each cell mass is made up of numerous pear-shaped neurosecretory cells, confirmed by neurosecretion-specific acid violet stain. The TEM investigation of the cells revealed the presence of different sizes of dense-cored vesicles in the cytoplasm, which was observed as granular cytoplasm under light microscope. Presence of large number of mitochondria in the cytoplasm confirmed active involvement of these cells in the physiology of fishes. Although lacuna prevails regarding the exact function of this system of fish, its probable role in hypoxic condition and surfacing behavior are speculated.