Purkinje fibers in mammalian hearts are known to comprise the following three groups depending on their structure: group I found commonly in ungulates, group II in humans, monkeys and dogs, and group III in rodents. The aim of the present study was to document precisely the cytoarchitecture of a network of Purkinje fibers in different species by light and electron microscopy. Light microscopy of silver impregnated tissues revealed the reticular fibers ensheathing individual Purkinje strands consisting of 2-8 cells in both the ungulates (i.e., sheep and goats) and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) while they encircled each Purkinje cell in the primates (humans and monkeys), carnivores (dogs and seals), and rodents (rats). Scanning electron microscopy of NaOH digested tissues showed the ungrates (group I) to have a Purkinje fiber network composed of Purkinje strands; the cells in the strands were oval and made side-to-side and/or end-to-end connections. The Purkinje fiber network in the primates and carnivores (group II) was delicate and complicated; the Purkinje cells were usually cylindrical and connected end-to-end, the exception being their polygonal or stellate shapes at the bifurcations. Purkinje cells in the rodents (group III) resembled ventricular cardiac myocytes in cytoarchitecture. Morphologically, whales and seals respectively belonged to Purkinje cells of group I and group II. These findings indicate that the structural variety of the Purkinje fiber network may reflect the conducting function and be related to the phylogeny of the mammalian species.
This study examined muscular atrophy and the recovery process induced by hindlimb unloading and joint immobilization in the rat soleus and plantaris muscles. Rats were divided into control, hindlimb unloading (HU), hindlimb unloading with ankle joint immobilization at the maximum dorsiflexion (HUD), and maximum plantarflexion (HUP) groups. The hindlimb was reloaded after fourteen days of unloading, and muscle atrophy and walking ability were assessed at 0, 3, and 7 days of reloading. A cross sectional area of muscle fibers in the soleus muscle on day 0 of reloading revealed sizes in order from the control, HUD, HUP down to the HU group, indicating that the HU group was the most atrophied among the four groups. These values in the plantaris muscle ranged in order from the control, HU, HUD, to HUP groups, the HUP group being the most atrophied among the four groups. These muscles recovered from atrophy in the same descending order, and the values in the HUD and HUP groups slowly recovered during the reloading periods. The HUD and HUP groups showed a central core lesion and reloading-induced lesions in some type I muscle fibers after the immobilization and reloading, one possible reason for the delayed recovery in these groups. The muscle atrophy in the HU, HUD, and HUP groups remained at day 7 although the walking ability appeared to be normal. Accordingly, further rehabilitation therapy might be necessary even if the functional ability appears to be normal.
The unique cytoarchitecture of glomerular podocytes is conserved in vertebrate evolution. Actin filaments play a crucial role in the formation of the conserved cytoarchitecture, though several isoforms of cytoplasmic actin have been found in vertebrates. The present study examined the expression and subcellular distribution of the β-cytoplasmic actin (β-actin) isoform in the podocytes of six vertebrate species by means of immunohistochemical techniques to reveal whether the β-actin isoform is involved in the formation of podocyte cytoarchitecture throughout vertebrates. β-actin was predominantly localized at the foot processes in carp, turtle, quail, and rat podocytes in addition to actin filament condensations, which were found only in carp and rat podocytes. The actin filament condensations in rats were in direct contact with the basal plasma membrane, but those in carp were found at the cell body and separated from the basal plasma membrane. In contrast with the above four species, β-actin was not detected in podocytes in two amphibians-newt and frog, although podocyte foot processes are actin-filament based cytoplasmic protrusions in these species as well as in other vertebrates. In conclusion, the β-actin isoform is involved in the formation of the podocyte actin cytoskeleton in vertebrates except for amphibians. Several kinds of unconventional cytoplasmic actins other than β- and γ-cytoplasmic actins are known to be expressed in amphibians, making it highly likely that one of these isoforms, instead of β-actin, constructs actin filaments in the foot processes of newt and frog podocytes.
A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 9 (ADAMTS9) is known to influence aggrecan degradation in endochondral ossification, but its role has not been well understood. In the present study, in vitro gene expression of ADAMTS9 was investigated by RT-PCR in ATDC5 cells in which experimentally chondrogenic differentiation had been induced. We also investigated the protein localization and gene expression pattern of ADAMTS9 in the tibia growth plate cartilage of male mice in a day 1 neonate, 7-week-old young adult, and a 12-week-old adult by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization and compared the results with the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and type X collagen for the identification of proliferative and hypertrophic chondrocyte phenotypes, respectively. We found the gene expression of ADAMTS9 by ATDC5 cells as a dual mode, both before the expression of type X collagen and after hypertrophic differentiation. The immunoreactivity of ADAMTS9 was observed in chondrocytes of proliferative and hypertrophic zones in the growth plate. The population of ADAMTS9 positive cells decreased with age. The results of the present study suggest that ADAMTS9 might have a role in aggrecan cleavage around the chondrocytes to allow chondrocyte proliferation and hypertrophy.
The enamel organ engaged in enamel matrix formation in tooth germs comprises four different cell types: the ameloblasts, the cells of the stratum intermedium, stellate reticulum, and the outer enamel epithelium, each characterized by distinct structural features. In ordinary primary cultures of tooth-derived cells, these cells generally become flat in profile and hardly regain their original profiles comparable to those in vivo, even under conditions that can induce the expression of functional markers from these cells. To overcome this limitation inherent to the cell culture of tooth-derived cells, we introduced a novel co-culture method, a “three-dimensional and layered (TDL) culture”, a three-dimensional (3D) culture of dental pulp-derived cells dispersed in type I collagen gel combined with a layered culture of enamel epithelial cells seeded on top of the gel to establish thereby a culture condition where the functional tooth-derived cells regain their original structures and spatial arrangements. We subjected the TDL gels thus prepared to floating cultures and found that, in the layered epithelial cells, those facing the 3D gel became cuboidal/short columnar in shape, showed cell polarity and well-developed intercellular junctions, had PAS positive material in their cytoplasm, and expressed a distinct immunoreactivity for cyotokeratin 14 and amelogenins. Pulpal cells in the gel displayed a strong ALP activity throughout the 3D gel. The current observations have clearly shown that the structural and functional features reminiscent of early secretory ameloblasts could be restored in the enamel organ-derived cells in a TDL culture.