The importance of the pericardium and the pericardial fluid (PF) in the control of cardiac function has emerged over the past few years. Despite the acknowledgment that amphibians are exposed to both dehydration and excessive water accumulation, nothing is known about their pericardial structure and the morphological basis of the PF formation. We have studied the parietal pericardium (PP) morphology in Rana esculenta by electron microscopy. SEM images of the inner surface, which lines the pericardial cavity, revealed the presence of large vesicles and many small circular openings. TEM observations showed that the PP is made up of an inner mesothelial lining, often constituted by two layers of very flat cells lying on a basal membrane and of regularly oriented collagen bundles. The PP outer surface is lined by a layer of flat cells, without a basal membrane. The mesothelial cells had overlapping boundaries with complex intercellular connections and a rich pool of caveolae opened in the direction of both the pericardial cavity and intercellular spaces. These cells indicate an intense intracellular and/or intercellular transfer of fluids and substances. The intraperitoneal injection of the idromineral hormone, Val5-ANG II, induced PP modifications, particularly evident at the level of the structures involved in the transmesothelial traffic. These lymphatic-like traits suggest that the frog PP represents a large lymphatic sac, subject to paracrine-endocrine remodeling, which can actively adjust the PF, influencing the composition and volume of the myocardial interstitial fluid. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
|Numero di pagine||6|
|Rivista||Journal of Morphology|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2003|
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