Polymer Science Faculty Research

Organization and development of the mineral phase during early ontogenesis of the bony fin rays of the trout Oncorhynchus mykiss

William Landis, The University of Akron


Characterization of mineral deposition has been studied by electron optical methods during early ontogenesis of lepidotrichia, the bony fin rays, of the trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (the former Salmo gairdneri). The fin rays consist of an extracellular granular ground substance containing in part a network of collagen fibrils within the basal lamella of the fin dermoepidermal interface. Growth of individual rays proceeds in a proximodistal direction. The mineral phase appears as electron-dense needle or plate-like particles and is associated with the collagenous matrix. On analysis of progressively maturing tissue, the mineral was characterized as a poorly crystalline hydroxyapatite with Ca/P molar ratios in the range of 1.0-1.4, corresponding to distal and proximal areas, respectively. With selected-area electron diffraction and dark field imaging of lepidotrichia, the mineral particles were found to be about 3-10 nm thick and 12-20 nm in length (along their crystallographic c-axes), possibly aggregated into larger crystals 35-40 nm long observed with bright field microscopy. No definitive relation was found between either the c- or a,b-axes images of the crystals and the periodic structure of collagen, which forms the framework for mineral deposition in this and in other vertebrate calcifying tissues.