Supplementary Material for: New Description of Telocyte Sheaths in the Bovine Uterine Tube: An Immunohistochemical and Scanning Microscopic Study
Telocytes are a special type of interstitial cells characterized by distinctive cellular extensions with alternating thin segments (podomers) and dilations (podoms). Telocytes establish contact with various cells and structures, but their role in the regulation of the function of many cell types is still obscure. The aim of the current study was to investigate the morphology, histochemistry, and immunohistochemistry of telocytes, and their distribution, organization, and morphometric measurements in different layers of the adult bovine uterine tube. Telocytes showed positive immunostaining for CD117, S-100 protein, vimentin, desmin, α-smooth muscle actin, tubulin, laminin, estrogen receptor-α, and progesterone receptor. They were organized in different types of sheaths: subepithelial, inner/outer perimuscular, and intramuscular sheaths. Telocytes were scattered in the lamina propria, in the muscular layer, and the serosa. According to their size, they were grouped into different types of telocytes: small, large, and giant telocytes. Small telocytes were the most common type and located in all layers; large telocytes were observed in the epithelium, lamina propria, and inner/outer perimuscular and intramuscular sheaths, and giant telocytes were found in the external layer of the outer perimuscular sheath. Telocytes were connected by thin and thick telopodes (fenestrated membranes). Fenestrated membranes enabled connections between telocytes along the entire muscular wall of the uterine tube. Telocytes established an extensive biological network of different types of cells and structures, including epithelial, muscular, and mast cells, blood vessels, glomus, and nerve fibers. We hypothesize that telocytes help to organize the functional coordination between different types of cells in the uterine tube.