Junctions between interstitial cells of the renal medulla: a freeze-fracture study

Cell Tissue Res. 1979;203(2):231-40. doi: 10.1007/BF00237237.


Cell junctions between interstitial cells of the renal medulla were studied in freeze-fracture replicas of kidneys from rat, rabbit, hamster and the tree-shrew Tupaia belangeri. In all species studied a composite type of intercellular junction was found comprising elements of tight junctions and irregular gap junctions of highly variable size and shape. The number of these junctions increased towards the tip of the papilla. Our findings suggest that the composite junctions observed play a role in the maintainance of the ladder-like arrangement of the interstitial cells in the inner zone. The existence of irregular gap junctions raises the possibility that the functions of the interstitial cells are coordinated, especially during alterations of the functional state of the kidney.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure*
  • Kidney Medulla / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Shrews