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*CIL – Cell Image Library accession number. Please use this to reference an image.

CIL:39759*  Cite 

Transmission electron micrograph of intercalated disks with a desmosome from the atria of mouse cardiac muscle cells. The intercalated disks are where the junction of two opposing membranes of adjacent cardiac muscle cells meet, which are held together by gap junctions and desmosomes. Intercalated disks function to aid in the rapid spread of action potential and in synchronizing muscle contractions. The gap junction allows small molecules and ions such as Calcium, Sodium and Potassium to move from one cell to another creating a direct electrical connection between the two adjacent cells. The desmosome specializes in spot like cell-cell adhesions which work to resist the forces of cardiac muscle expansion and contraction.

Technical Details

Primary fixation included: 2.5 % glutaraldehyde, 2% formaldehyde in 0.1 M Na-phosphate buffer, pH 7.4. Post-fixed in 2% OSO4 in 0.1 M Na-phosphate buffer, pH 7.4. Stained en bloc in 1% uranyl acetate. The tissue was then dehydrated in a graded series of ethanol and infiltrated with Spurr’s resin. Thin sections of 70 nm were trimmed using a diamond knife and post-stained in uranyl acetate and lead citrate. This micrograph image was taken using a Phillips CM 100 transmission electron microscope at an accelerating voltage of 80kV.

Biological Sources
NCBI Organism Classification
Mus musculus
Cell Type
cardiac muscle cell
Cellular Component
intercalated disc
gap junction
Biological Context
Biological Process
regulation of muscle contraction
Dee Lauzon
Sue Lancelle
Marian Rice
Mount Holyoke College
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Archival Resource Key (ARK)
Grouping This image is part of a group.
Image Type
recorded image
Image Mode
transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
Parameters Imaged
electron density
Source of Contrast
differences in adsorption or binding of stain
Visualization Methods
uranyl salt
lead salt
Processing History
unprocessed raw data
Sample Preparation
glutaraldehyde fixed tissue
formaldehyde fixed tissue
ethanol dehydration
tissue in epoxy resin embedment
Relation To Intact Cell
sectioned tissue
Spatial Axis Image Size Pixel Size
X 1796px ——
Y 1581px ——