Extraocular muscles in the lamprey, Lampetra fluviatils L. II. Motor end plates



Motor innervation and particularly the structure of motor end plates (MEPs) was studied in the extraocular muscles of the lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis L., by light and electron microscopy. Each muscle is supplied with numerous thin motor nerve fibres. Motor end plates are located at their ends or along their course. Two motor end plate types were distinguished: en grappe-like plates with a low acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity were observed on thin muscle fibres, whilst en plaque-like plates with a high AChE activity were found on thick mitochondria-rich and thick multifibrillar muscle fibres. The postsynaptic membrane of the former MEP type does not show the presence of infoldings, MEPs located on thick mitochondria-rich fibres show occasional infoldings, whereas the postsynaptic membrane of MEPs present on thick multifibrillar fibres reveals numerous infoldings. Motor end plates present in the extraocular muscles in the lamprey possess features typical for higher vertebrates and elasmobranch fishes, as well as for Tunicata.