Exposure of the gill epithelial cells of larval lampreys to an ion-deficient environment: a stereological study.
The density and carbonic anhydrase (CA) content of the mitochondria-rich cells (MRCs) in the skin epithelium of the toad, Bufo viridis, were studied under conditions of acclimation to various chlorinities. Long-term (days to weeks) acclimation to chloride-free solutions induced a great increase in the MRC density and the area occupied by the apical portion of these cells on the surface of the epithelium. The CA content of the epithelium, and individual MR cells, showed a 5- to 10-fold reduction after acclimation to solutions containing high chloride levels. The MRC density and their relative apical surface area correlated with the chloride permeability of the skin in acclimated (long-term) toads. It is concluded that the MRCs are the principal site of chloride permeability across the amphibian skin, and they respond in an adaptive manner to long-term changes in environmental chloride levels.