Morphology of the epithelium in the alimentary tract of the larval lamprey, Petromyzon marinus L.

Research paper by Susan J SJ Hansen, John H JH Youson

Indexed on: 01 Feb '78Published on: 01 Feb '78Published in: Journal of Morphology


The alimentary tract of the ammocoete of the lamprey, Petromyzon marinus L., is divisible into three morphologically distinct regions: the oesophagus, the anterior intestine, and the posterior intestine. The epithelium of the oesophagus possesses mucous, ciliated, and columnar cells and appears to be specialized for movement of food particles. The epithelium of the anterior intestine possesses secretory cells with numerous zymogen granules, ciliated cells, and columnar-absorptive cells. Although some absorption occurs in the anterior intestine, the main function of this region seems to be the release of digestive enzymes and the continued movement of food particles. The epithelium of the posterior intestine is entirely comprised of columnar absorptive cells, namely tall (light and dark) columnar and low columnar, and the primary function of this region is one of absorption. The epithelium of the hindgut resembles that of the archinephric duct (Youson and McMillan, '71). The morphology of the alimentary tract of ammocoetes suggests that some differentiation and renewal of cell types may occur in the epithelium of the three regions. Comparison of the alimentary tract of larval lamprey with that of other vertebrates indicates that the gut of the ammocoete represents a less specialized level of vertebrate development. Copyright © 1978 Wiley-Liss, Inc.