Ultrastructure of the phasic stretch receptor in the crayfish abdominal nerve cord

J. L.S. Cobb*, W. J. Heitler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The ultrastructure of the abdominal ganglionic cord stretch receptor of the crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus is described. This bilaterally-paired, segmentally-repeating phasic receptor monitors stretch applied to the central nervous system itself. It consists of a connective tissue mass closely applied to the medial margin of each medial giant fibre, into which ramifies a collection of specialized terminal dendrites originating from branches (primary dendrites) of a single axon. The connective tissue consists of an electron-opaque matrix in which are embedded many short, electron-lucent, tubular structures whose lumens are continuous with the matrix. Some filamentous material penetrates the connective tissue from its boundaries, and glial cells are present. The primary dendrites are irregular in size and orientation, and contain many microtubules and much filamentous material. The terminal dendrites are of consistent diameter and longitudinal orientation, containing very regularly-spaced microtubules with no microfilaments. The terminal dendrites contain a well-defined cytoskeletal 'tube' or lamina 6 nm thick, evenly spaced about 25 nm below the plasma membrane and connected to it by filamentous material 5 nm in diameter, which is deposited in rings or helices. This lamina arises just at the point where the primary dendrites gave rise to the terminal dendrites. Its function is not known, but it shows some similarities to the subaxolemmal lamina found in some regions of spike initiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-426
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurocytology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1985


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