The organization of the stomach in the compound styelid ascidian, Polyandrocarpa misakiensis, is described, and the morphology and cell types of the stomach is discussed from the phylogenetic viewpoint. The stomach is a sac-like organ whose wall is formed into longitudinal folds. The stomach consists of external and internal epithelium. The internal epithelium is simple columnar, except for the bottom of the folds. There are five cell types: absorptive cells, zymogenic cells, endocrine cells, ciliated mucous cells, and undifferentiated cells. The absorptive cells have numerous microvilli. The apical region of these cells is occupied by coated vesicles. The zymogenic cells have a conical outline and a few microvilli on their apical surfaces. There are secretory granules in the apical region of zymogenic cells. The endocrine cells have low cell height and electron-dense granules around the nucleus. Endocrine cells have one or two cilia and a few microvilli on the apical surfaces. The basolateral part of these cells often bulges into the adjoining cells. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that some endocrine cells have serotonin-like immunoreactivity. The ciliated mucous cells are restricted to a single ventral groove. They have numerous microvilli and a few cilia on their apical surfaces. Moderately electron-dense granules are accumulated in the apical part of the ciliated mucous cells. Undifferentiated cells, filled with free ribosomes, form a pseudostratified epithelium in the base of each fold. The nucleus of undifferentiated cells has a prominent nucleolus. The pseudostratified epithelium of the pyloric caecum consists of electron-dense and electron-light cells.
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Vol. 29 • No. 2