Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Natural Sciences in General
The polymorphism of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in epithelial cells with different transport functions such as the enterocyte suggests that the ER may be involved in some way in molecular transport. To further access this possibility, we examined the ER from the intestine of winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, a species which undergoes an annual fast of approximately 6 months' duration, a time during which previous work indicates nutrient carrier number does not change. Fish from June (feeding) and January (8-10 weeks fasted) were sampled. Tissues from the pyloric caeca, foregut, midgut, and hindgut were prepared for electron microscopy using two techniques of staining. Cell height was unaltered in any section, although microvillar length shortened variably. Cellular organization, including position of nuclei, number and distribution of mitochondria, and presence of basolateral membranes, did not change. The ER appeared equally abundant in June and January. However, use of the osmium impregnation technique, which is specific for ER cisternal contents, revealed a change in the impregnation of ER, from a heavily impregnated network in summer to little or no impregnation in winter. These results suggest that a shift in function of the ER had occurred when nutrient transport ceased, and supports a role of the ER in nutrient transport.
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