Ultrastructural and ultrahistochemical studies on ventricular endocardial cells in teleosts (Pisces)



The ultrastructure of the ventricular endocardial cells in 17 bony-fish species representing eight families, is described. In species of Characidae, Cobitidae, Cyprinidae, and Gyrinocheilidae these cells are flat (1–2 µm at nucleus) and contain numerous ribosomes, some few bristle-coated vesicles (BCV) and small (0.243 pm) electron dense inclusion bodies. However, in species of Cichlidae, Gadidae, and Poeciliidae most endocardial cells appear relatively thicker (2–5 µm at nucleus) and contain numerous BCV, tubules of agranular endoplasmic reticulum, and large (0.5-1.5 µm) moderately electron dense bodies (MDB). In the MDB occur a number of small (20–150 nm) electron dense granules. Within the family Anabantidae, most endocardial cells seem to be of the first type in Colisa laliu and Trichogaster leeri. whereas in Helosioma iemmincki there are numerous cells of the second type. When glutaraldehyde/tannic acid fixed heart tissue of Pollachius virens is treated with ferrous chloride, ferric chloride, or osmium tetroxide, and grid stained by uranyl and lead solutions, damaged endocardial cells appear highly electron dense, whereas undamaged ones are electron lucent. Further, when glutaraldehyde fixed tissue is treated with osmium tetroxide/potassium ferrocyanide the subendocardial space is filled by a highly electron dense material. The methods described in this study make it possible to distinguish between those endocardial vacuoles having structural contact with the cell membrane, and those lacking such contact, and also to determine whether the lumen of the former is continuous with the subendocardial space, or with the intertrabecular lumen.