Morphological studies on the heart ventricle of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus)
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The histological and ultrastructural characteristics of the heart ventricle in Clarias gariepinus (African catfish) has been studied by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The ventricle of the heart has a saccular shape and the myocardial wall consists of an outer thin compact myocardium and an inner well-developed spongy myocardium. The myocardial layer has small myocytes, interstitial spaces and blood vessels. The myocytes are the major constituents of the ventricular wall. They are long cells, with large nuclei, and predominantly euchromatin. The sarcoplasmic reticulum of the ventricular myocytes consists of a network of tubules and subsarcolemmal cisternae oriented mainly along the longitudinal axis of the myofibrils. In contrast to the ventricular structure of other fish species described in the literature (Greer-Walker et al., 1985 Santer, 1985 Sanchez-Quintana et al., 1995, 1996), the African catfish, a freshwater sedentary fish recently introduced in neotropical climatic environments, showed a saccular ventricle that consisted of two muscle layers, a thin compact layer with large vessels and a developed spongy layer. The ultrastructure of the ventricular myocardium of C.gariepinus is similar to that of other teleosts, inclusive that of fish with other swimming habits.