The cytoplasmic matrix of the adrenal chromaffin cells of rats under normal and stressed conditions

Department of Anatomy, Kanazawa University School of Medicine, Japan.
Journal of Electron Microscopy Technique 08/1989; 12(4):356-63. DOI: 10.1002/jemt.1060120408
Source: PubMed


In embedment-free electron microscopy with polyethylene glycol embedding and subsequent deembedding, the conventional cytoplasm of the chromaffin cells was revealed to consist of a three-dimensional lattice of microtrabeculae and gives the impression that the chromaffin granules are held in place by the lattice. After the restraint stress, a substantial number of chromaffin cells were almost free of granules, and the microtrabecular lattice was much more compact than that in cytoplasmic regions occupied with remaining granules or increased mitochondria. In immunocytochemistry, actin immunofluorescence was confined to the subplasmalemmal regions, while tubulin and tropomyosin immunofluorescence appeared throughout the entire cytoplasm of normal chromaffin cells. After the stress, the immunofluorescence for actin and tubulin increased in intensity, while that for tropomyosin decreased. Immunogold labelings for actin and tubulin were found mainly on the thinner subplasmalemmal microtrabeculae and the thicker perikaryal ones, respectively, while some were deposited in the form of small aggregates on portions of microtrabeculae. No specific association between the gold labelings for actin or tubulin and the chromaffin granules was found, even in the subplasmalemmal regions. A hypothetical interpretation was proposed in which a more compact lattice of the microtrabeculae in spatial association with a looser lattice represents a gelated state of the cytoplasm. The significance of the gel-sol transition of the cytoplasmic matrix in relation to the secretory mechanism was discussed.

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