ABSTRACT: The luminal membrane of salivary acinar cells creates a specialized cell surface area that accepts exocytosis and undergoes dynamic changes during secretion. These changes were visualized three-dimensionally from both the inside and outside of the cell in human parotid and submandibular glands, by application of in vitro secretory stimulation and then of OsO4 maceration to remove cytoplasmic organelles by varying degrees. In control glands treated without secretagogues, the luminal surface of serous acinar cells bore well-developed microvilli with only an occasional incidence of exocytotic profiles. Following treatment with the #-adrenergic agonist, isoproterenol, considerable shortening and loss of microvilli occurred along the luminal membrane where, on its cytoplasmic side, many protuberances of sizes similar to or smaller than those of single secretory granules (~1 7m in diameter) appeared. The cytoplasmic surface of these protuberances exhibited small vesicles (~100-150 nm in diameter) that, by transmission electron microscopy, were shown to be coated pits or vesicles present on or around the exocytosed granule membranes. Treatment of tissues with the muscarinic agonist carbachol also caused a decrease of microvilli and the appearance of protrusions at the luminal membrane. However, unlike isoproterenol treatment, many of these protrusions were devoid of small pits or vesicles and were much larger than a single secretory granule. These results indicate that (1) secretory stimulation causes the dynamic transformation of microvilli at the luminal membrane, where granule docking and membrane fusion take place, and (2) after fusion, the exocytosed membranes are processed differently, by coated pit/vesicle mediated or non-mediated mechanisms, according to the autonomic receptor control.
Cell and Tissue Research 12/1997; 291(2):325-336. · 3.11 Impact Factor