ABSTRACT: Chromaffin granules from bovine adrenal medullary chromaffin cells have been found to contain small vesicular structures bounded by unit membranes. Detection of these intragranular vesicles within intact cells requires the use of quick-freezing methods. The intragranular vesicles are labile to fixation by aldehydes which explains why they have not been described in intact cells until now. They are found in approximately 60% of the dense-core chromaffin granules in cells and 85% of isolated granules. They are usually clustered in groups of one to as many as five between the core and the inner surface of the granule membrane. The intragranular vesicles are independent vesicles in that they do not appear as simple invaginations of the granule membrane in either serial thin-section or freeze-etch views. Furthermore, they are released from the cell along with granule contents during nicotine-induced secretion of catecholamines. The structural heterogeneity provided by the intragranular vesicles may be related to the functional heterogeneity of granule contents observed in many recent biochemical studies.
Cell and Tissue Research 02/1986; 245(3):547-53. · 3.11 Impact Factor