Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 253–260 | Cite as

Histochemical and ultrastructural characterisation of mantle storage cells in the hydrothermal-vent bivalve Bathymodiolus azoricus

  • A. Lobo-da-CunhaEmail author
  • E. Kádár
  • R. Serrão Santos
Research Article


This study reports on two types of storage cells that are present in the mantle connective tissue of the deep-sea mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus. One type corresponds to the adipogranular cells, a kind of storage cell previously described in other bivalves. In these cells extensive regions of the cytoplasm are filled with glycogen deposits and these zones became strongly stained after histochemical (PAS) or ultrastructural detection of polysaccharides. Several lipid droplets and membrane bound granules containing homogeneous electron-dense material are also present in adipogranular cells. A second type of cell contains large lysosomes in addition to numerous lipid droplets, but lacking cytoplasmic glycogen deposits. Due to these characteristics we named them adipolysosomal cells. They can be identified in semi-thin sections stained with PAS reaction because the lysosomes are the only positively stained structures. In the connective tissue of the mantle, some cells containing many lysosomes and a few lipid droplets were also observed. These cells differ from the adipolysosomal cells mainly because they have a reduced amount of lipid reserves, and could be an initial stage in the development of adipolysosomal cells. The vesicular connective tissue cells that in other Mytilidae are specialised in glycogen storage were not detected in B. azoricus. The reserves accumulated in the two types of storage cells described in B. azoricus may be important for the survival of these hydrothermal-vent bivalves if their nutrition is affected by a temporary loss or reduction of endosymbiotic bacteria due to sulphide and/or methane shortage caused by oscillations in vent activity.


Bivalve Lipid Droplet Storage Cell Remote Operate Vehicle Endosymbiotic Bacterium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was undertaken under the scope of the project SEAHMA (Seafloor and sub-seafloor hydrothermal modelling in the Azores Sea) funded by FCT (PDCTM/P/MAR/15281/1999). We acknowledge the postdoctoral fellowship (FCT-SFRH/BPD/19625/2004) to E. Kádár. The Atalante crew with the ROV-team is acknowledged for their assistance in sampling and Fernando Barriga, chief scientist during the SEAHMA I cruise for coordination of expedition. The authors also thank Mrs Laura Corral for her technical assistance, Mr. João Carvalheiro and Mr Paulo Lopes for the reproduction of the photomicrographs.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lobo-da-Cunha
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. Kádár
    • 2
  • R. Serrão Santos
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cell Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS)Porto University and Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Oceanography and FisheriesIMAR Centre of the University of AzoresHortaPortugal

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