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Vascularization of the lateral line organ in the Atlantic cod: involvement of the secondary vascular system


  • Editor: Günther Zupanc

Jan Bielecki, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Strandpromenaden 5, DK-3000 Helsingør, Denmark. Tel: +45 22151030


Sections of the lateral line organ, primary and secondary blood vessels and skin from the Atlantic cod Gadus morhua, Linnaeus 1758, were examined by light and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The lateral line organ showed a structural analogy to the semicircular canals of the mammalian inner ear. A pericanalicular sinus (PCS), a canal of very loose connective tissue, surrounded the lateral line canal (LLC), separated by a multilayered epithelial wall. Located dorsal and ventral to the lateral line organ secondary vessels of capillary dimensions were found in association with the PCS. TEM of the wall of these dorso-ventral vessels showed single tight junction contacts between the endothelial cells, allowing paracellular fluid exchange between the secondary vascular system and the PCS, an indication supported by horseradish peroxidase (HRP) tracer experiments, which showed reaction products in the PCS within 2 h after injecting HRP into the systemic circulation. The multilayered epithelial wall of the LLC showed multiple tight junctions between cells, making this boundary permeable only through transcellular transport.

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