Mucosubstance histochemistry in control and acid-stressed epidermis of brown bullhead catfish, Ictalurus nebulosus (LeSueur).
Glycoprotein components of epidermal mucous cells in control (pH 6.8) and acid-stressed (pH 5.8, 4.8, 4.0) brown bullhead catfish were studied by histochemical and autoradiographic methods. Following exposure to acid, increased numbers of epidermal mucous cells were noted in all tissue sites studied, particularly dorsal and ventral skin. Mucous cells of control fish and acid-stressed (pH 5.8) fish contained a mixture of neutral and acidic mucosubstances, the latter including both sialomucins and sulfomucins, with sialomucins predominating. An apparent shift toward increased sulfomucin production was observed in skin from fish exposed to pH 4.8 and 4.0. In addition, autoradiographic studies using 35S showed increased labeling of mucous cells in acid-exposed (pH 4.0) epidermis, offering further support for a shift toward sulfomucin production in acid-stressed fish. Absence of appreciable sulfomucin production in younger fish (less than 1 year old) suggested that this shift may be partly age-dependent. The functional significance of increased sulfomucin production in acid-stressed epidermal mucous cells is uncertain but may be related to maintenance of ionic equilibrium.
Zuchelkowski, EM; Pinkstaff, CA; Hinton, DE
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