Glial cells of the crayfish and their relationships with neurons. An ultrastructural study

J. Cuadras, A. Marti-Subirana

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    1. Glial cells of the crayfish abdominal ganglia have been studied by transmission electron microscopy. Special attention is paid to the interrelationships between neurons and glial cells. Covers and hemocyte-related elements have also been considered. 2. Glial cells are identified by a common ultrastructure and close relationships with neurons. Four glial classes are considered, depending on their morphology, the compartment of neurons they ensheathe and neuron-glia interface. 3. Four ultrastructural classes of neurons are proposed. They differ in geometry and ultrastructure, as well as in glial covers (complexity and evaginations into the neuron somata). The morphology and organization of glial covers is specific for the neuron type they ensheathe. Specific glial covers do not differ in glia-glia communicatory structures. 4. The morphological and metabolical compartments of neurons are separated from the extracellular matrix or blood by specific glial systems. A system of two cells is interposed between neuron somata and hemolymph or the extracellular matrix. 5. Glial processes are crossed by membraneous tubular systems, at neuron perikarya and axons. Frequent gap junctions of varying area, density and number of IMP are found in the covers of neuron somata. 6. Neuron-glia interface bears numerous communicatory structures for both ionic and macromolecular exchange. They include junctions and transient modifications of membranes. Some of them suggest active transport mechanisms. 7. Modified endocytic mechanisms seem to be responsible for the glia-to-neuron transfer of macromolecules as well as for the neuron-to-glia transfer of lamellar bodies. 8. The neuropil is divided into glomeruli (electrical or chemical) by glial processes and the trabeculae of the extracellular dense matrix. Neuron-glia membrane appositions have been found in electrical glomeruli. In chemical glomeruli, dense cored vesicles can release their content at neuron-neuron or neuron-glia intercellular cleft, at non-synaptic loci.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)196-217
    JournalJournal de Physiologie
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1987


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