Article

Cyclic variation of the oviduct structure of Boulengerula taitana, an oviparous species of Gymnophiona: morphological changes, proliferation and apoptosis

Published in: African Journal of Herpetology
Volume 66, issue 2, 2017 , pages: 93–105
DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2017.1365098
Author(s): C. BrunUniversité de Lyon, UMRS 449, Biologie générale, Reproduction et développement comparé, UCLy, EPHE/PSL, France, M.A. RaquetUniversité de Lyon, UMRS 449, Biologie générale, Reproduction et développement comparé, UCLy, EPHE/PSL, France, G.J. MeaseyCentre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, South Africa, J.M. ExbrayatUniversité de Lyon, UMRS 449, Biologie générale, Reproduction et développement comparé, UCLy, EPHE/PSL, France

Abstract

Functioning of the amphibian oviduct is the subject of many studies, but detailed understanding of caecilian reproduction exists for very few species. In this study, a description is made of morphological changes of the oviduct of the caecilian Boulengerula taitana throughout the year, using conventional histology and immunohistochemistry. The reproductive cycle of this little-known species, originating from the Taita Hills in southeast Kenya, is annual. During the reproductive period (November–February), both lamina propria and the epithelium of the oviduct exhibit a maximum degree of development. The epithelial mucosa is more secretory and the cilia cells are abundant. Histological analysis shows the distribution of the different type of cells according to a specific pattern in the pars recta, pars convoluta and pars utera. Evaluation of proliferative (Ki-67 positive cells) and apoptotic cells (TUNEL and Apostain assays) into the different tissues brings out cyclic modifications of the lamina propria and epithelial cells throughout a seasonal cycle. The results demonstrate that the balance between cell proliferation and apoptosis reflects the functionality of the oviduct during the sexual cycle.

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