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Effects of external osmolality, calcium and prolactin on growth and differentiation of the epidermal cells of the cichlid teleost Sarotherodon mossambicus

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Summary

Osmolality and concentrations of divalent cations calcium, and to a lesser extent magnesium of the water are the main environmental factors that determine development and degree of mucification of the skin epithelium of Sarotherodon mossambicus. Epithelial thickness and number of mucocytes in fish exposed to low (freshwater level) concentrations of calcium and magnesium are directly related to the height of the osmotic gradient between water and blood plasma. No such relationship is found in fish exposed to a high (seawater level) concentration of calcium in the water, irrespective of the height of the osmotic gradient.

The results strongly indicate that the effects of osmolality and divalent cations are indirect, and mediated by prolactin, since administration of ovine or fish prolactin stimulates growth and multiplication of the cells of the basal layer of the epidermis, and promotes the differentiation of the mucocytes.

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Correspondence to Dr. S. E. Wendelaar Bonga.

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Bonga, S.E.W., Meis, S. Effects of external osmolality, calcium and prolactin on growth and differentiation of the epidermal cells of the cichlid teleost Sarotherodon mossambicus . Cell Tissue Res. 221, 109–123 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00216574

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Key words

  • Teleost epidermis
  • Environmental calcium
  • Environmental osmolality
  • Prolactin
  • Mucus production