Functional morphology of the esophagus of the tropical house gecko Hemidactylus mabouia (Squamata: Gekkonidae)

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In order to understand the biology of species that easily establish themselves in new environments, morphological studies are essential. This study aimed to describe the esophageal functional morphology of Hemidactylus mabouia, indicating adaptations to food habits. Seventeen adult specimens were used for anatomical, topological, histological, and histochemical analyses. Histological sections were stained with toluidine blue or submitted to techniques for identification of argyrophil and argentaffin endocrine cells, proteins, and glycoconjugates. The esophagus of H. mabouia is a tubular straight-lined organ, and its anterior portion is dilated, facilitating the swallowing of whole prey. The esophageal epithelium is pseudostratified, containing cells secreting neutral and acid mucins. At the esophagogastric transition, we found a mixture of this epithelium with a simple prismatic epithelium secreting neutral mucins. The esophagus lamina propria is thin and non-glandular. At the esophagogastric transition it becomes thick and filled by branched simple acinous glands, with cells secreting neutral mucins, zymogenic cells, and argentaffin endocrine cells, with no argyrophil cells. The mucins protect the esophageal mucosa and lubricate the channel to facilitate the passage of food, while pepsinogen in the stomach increases the levels of pepsin for proteolytic digestion. The muscular tunica is made up of smooth muscle cells. Ciliary action, in addition to muscle contractions, facilitates the swallowing of small prey.

Functional morphology of the esophagus of the tropical house gecko Hemidactylus mabouia (Squamata: Gekkonidae)

in Animal Biology



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    Anatomy of the esophagus and the esophagogastric transition of H. mabouia. (A) The esophagus (double arrow) with its anterior (a), median (m) and posterior (p) regions, and the esophagogastric transition (asterisk). Abbreviations: s, stomach; si, small intestine. (B) and (C) Internal covering of the esophagus and of the esophagogastric transition, respectively. Arrows indicate folds. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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    Topological morphology of the esophagus and the esophagogastric transition of H. mabouia. (A) Internal covering of the esophagus. Arrows indicate cilia of the ciliated cells, arrow-heads non-ciliated cells. (B) Detail of the esophageal covering epithelium in lateral view. The arrow indicates a ciliated cell, the arrow-head a non-ciliated cell, and stippled circle the basal cells. (C) Internal covering of the esophagogastric transition. Abbreviations and symbol: asterisk, mucus; ge, gastric epithelium; ee, esophageal epithelium. (D) Gastric covering epithelium. Arrows indicate folds, arrow-heads glandular ostia. (E) Non-ciliated cells of the gastric covering epithelium.

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    Histology and histochemistry of the esophagus of H. mabouia. (A) Transversal section of the wall (Toluidine Blue). Abbreviations and symbols: arrow-head, muscularis mucosae; mc, mucosa; ms, muscular; sm, submucosa; sr, serosa. (B) Covering epithelium (Toluidine Blue). Abbreviations: bc, basal cell; cc, ciliated cell; gc, goblet cell. (C) Covering epithelium (Alcian Blue pH 0.5). Arrows indicate goblet cell secreting sulphated acid mucins, arrow-heads indicate mitotic figures, and the asterisk indicates mucus. (D) Covering epithelium (PAS-Alcian Blue). Arrows indicate goblet cell secreting acid and neutral mucins, and the asterisk indicates mucus. (E) Covering epithelium (PAS). Abbreviations: bc, basal cell; cc, ciliated cell; gc, goblet cell secreting neutral mucins. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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    Histology and histochemistry of the esophagogastric transition of H. mabouia. (A) Esophageal wall (PAS-AB). (B) Esophageal wall (Toluidine Blue). (C) Mucosa tunica (PAS). (D) Mucosa tunica (AB). (E) Mucosa tunica (Ponceau Xylidine). (F) Argentafin endocrine cell in the covering epithelium (Masson Fontana – MF). (G) Argentafin endocrine cell in the gland (MF). Abbreviations and symbols: arrow, zymogenic cell; arrow-head, goblet cell; asterisk, muscularis mucosae; continuous circle, neuronal body; dc, duct; ge, gastric epithelium; m, mucus; ee, esophageal epithelium; sm, submucosa; stippled circle, endocrine cell. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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