Ultrastructure of muscle cells from a few selected turbellarians: possible correlations between form and function

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Abstract

A comparative ultrastructural study of muscle cells from several turbellarian species revealed a basic smooth type of construction, with thick and thin myofilaments. However, the distribution of contractile elements, "dense bodies", smooth reticulum, mitochondria, as well as junctional specializations was found to vary within different systems. This variability is probably related to greater or lesser physical demands on the musculature. From a mechanical viewpoint, the most ‘powerful' muscular system studied was represented by the pharyngeal bulb of Geocentrophora applanata, in which muscle fibers were organized into a compact, square reticulum, hemidesmosomes occurred in large numbers, and myofilaments were grouped in patches reminiscent of A and I bands of striated muscles. At the other extreme, muscular fibrils of the catenulids studied were thin and regularly spaced along the body wall, and the branched ends of radial myofibrils in the parenchyma were connected to the epithelial layer.

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