The Gill Arch of the Striped Bass (Morone Saxatilis). IV. Alterations in the Ultrastructure of Chloride Cell Apical Crypts and Chloride Efflux Following Exposure to Seawater

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Osmotically induced alterations in the ultrastructure of the apical crypts of chloride cells and changes in chloride efflux were studied in striped bass (Morone saxatilis). Striped bass were divided into three groups: fish adapted to freshwater, fish transferred directly from freshwater to 100% seawater (3% salt, w/v) for 24 hr or less, and fish adapted to 100% seawater for 7 days or more. Transmission electron microscopy studies revealed multicellular complexes of cells in both freshwater‐ and seawater‐adapted fish. Cytoplasmic indigitations between cells in the complex were more numerous in seawateradapted bass. Scanning electron microscopy studies showed that the apical extensions in freshwater fish were uniform in size. Changes in ultrastructure and chloride efflux were observed within 3 hr after transfer to seawater. Initially the apical extensions of chloride cells become longer, more prominent, and branched. After 7 days in seawater some of the apical crypts develop into a deeper “pit” structure, while others remain like those of freshwater fish. An increase in the number of apical crypts is measured by 14 days after transfer. Chloride efflux increases to five times freshwater values after 24 hr and 17 times freshwater values after 7 days in seawater. Mitochondrial density is not significantly different between freshwater and seawater fish (7 or more days). The response of chloride cell apical crypts is not an all‐or‐none phenomenon as observed in other species. Striped bass are able to increase chloride efflux when osmotically stressed with little ultrastructural alteration.