In goodeid teleosts, prolonged embryonic development takes place within the ovarian cavity. Apposed maternal and embryonic epithelia interface via a nutritive liquid (embryotrophe) and facilitate aplacental matrotrophy. The role of the internal ovarian epithelium (IOE) in providing proteins for the embryotrophe has been studied using transmission electron-microscopic examinations of both the resting and the active ovarian lining, and isoelectric focusing of embryotrophe and maternal blood serum. The simple IOE is apparently composed of only one, filament-containing cell-type. In the non-gravid ovary these cells are cuboidal to columnar in shape, and are either compact and electron-dense or oedematous and light. During gestation, swelling of the ovarian connective tissue gives rise to dovetailing of the IOE with the subjacent capillary plexus. Part of the IOE overlying the capillaries becomes stretched, resulting in a thin endothelium-like demarcation. The nuclei and the bulk of the cytoplasm are usually recessed between the meshes of the protruding capillary network. The blood-embryotrophe pathway is thus reduced in places, to less than one μm. The active form of the IOE contains a well-developed vacuolar apparatus composed of small vesicles, vacuoles, multivesicular bodies, and a few lysosomes. Elements of the RER are sparsely distributed throughout the cytoplasm. Endocytotic activity is observable at the apical and basolateral plasma membrane. Isoelectric focusing of both serum and embryotrophe produces numerous bands each between pI 4–8, which reveal many homologies. The intensity of corresponding bands varies considerably. It is concluded that the cells of the IOE provide a transport pathway for serum-derived macromolecular substances rather than produce proteinaceous secretions.
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Schindler, J.F., Kujat, R. & de Vries, U. Maternal-embryonic relationships in the goodeid teleost, Xenoophorus captivus . Cell Tissue Res. 254, 177–182 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00220031
- Internal ovarian epithelium
- Isoelectric focusing
- Xenoophorus captivus (Teleostei)