The organization of the oesophagus in the budding styelid ascidian, Polyandrocarpa misakiensis, is described. The oesophagus consists of external and internal epithelium, and there are loose connective tissue, blood sinuses, and a muscular layer between them. The internal epithelium is simple columnar, except for the bottom of three folds. The external epithelium is simple squamous. The internal epithelium contains four cell types, i.e., ciliated mucous cells, band cells, endocrine cells, and undifferentiated cells. The ciliated mucous cells have apical cilia and microvilli, and two types of mucous vesicle. The band cells also have apical cilia and electron-dense granules in the apical cytoplasm. The endocrine cells are bottle-shaped, and have electron-dense granules both above and below the nucleus. The undifferentiated cells form pseudostratified epithelium at the bottom of each fold, and they have nuclei with prominent nucleoli. One type of coelomic cell, which has retractile cytoplasm, often migrates in the internal epithelium. Near the stomach, there are many darkly stained round cells clustered around the posterior end of the oesophagus. These two types of coelomic cells may be involved in the defense mechanism against the invasion of foreign organisms. The basic organization of the oesophagus of P. misakiensis is similar to those of other ascidians. However, the presence of three folds is a characteristic of a solitary species, rather than of a colonial species. Although ascidians are chordate invertebrates, the organization of their oesophagus is not very complex, which might reflect their life style.
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