The crustacean species Pacifastacus leniusculus and Gammarus pulex were investigated by electron microscopy in a search for possible neuromuscular junctions in the hindgut, which has a rich supply of catecholaminergic fibres. True neuromuscular synapses were found in both species between nerve terminals containing dense-core vesicles (80-110 nm in diam.) and muscle fibres. We suggest that the dense-core vesicle terminals contain a catecholamine, and this is supported by ultrahistochemical tests for monoamines. Two types of junctions are found: one in which the nerve terminal is embedded in the muscle cell (both species) and one in which protrusions from the muscle cell meet nerve terminals (Pacifastacus). Gammarus pulex, which has only circular muscles in the hindgut, has only catecholaminergic innervation, whereas Pacifastacus leniusculus has circular and longitudinal muscles both with at least two types of innervation.
- Electron microscopy
- Neuromuscular junction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology