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
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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ABSTRACT: The recent debate on the nature of the cytoplasmic matrix is reviewed on the basis of results obtained by electron microscopy of embedment-free materials, i.e., the critical point-dried whole mount-cell method, the polyethylene glycol (PEG)-embedding and subsequent de-embedding section method, and the freeze-etching method. Fine structural images obtained by these methods are carefully evaluated and close correspondence with electron microscopy regardless of these methods is demonstrated. Especially, 'novel' filamentous structures--the microtrabecular strands and the cross-linkers--correspond well to each other; they are structures which have been included in epoxy sections by conventional methods, but have been obscured simply because of a similar property of electron scattering between the filamentous structures and epoxy resin. Although this correspondence seems to support the existence of the microtrabeculae, the electron microscopy of serum albumin, when processed by the PEG-method, also exhibits filamentous networks resembling the microtrabecular lattice. This, together with the finding on the centrifugation of in situ cells, strongly suggests a possibility that most, if not all, microtrabecular strands and cross-linkers in cells without pretreatment by detergents do not represent actual in situ structures.
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ABSTRACT: In the previous study, we have demonstrated that nicotine hardly induces catecholamine release from adrenal medulla of 21-day-old rats. The present study examined the responsiveness of the adrenal chromaffin cells to acetylcholine in vitro and neostigmine and oxotremorine in vivo in 21-day-old and 8-week-old rats. As assessed by electron microscopy, the number of the chromaffin granules was markedly decreased and the content of adrenaline in adrenals was diminished significantly by oxotremorine treatment in 8-week-old rats, whereas these changes did not occur in 21-day-old rats. Morphological changes of the adrenal chromaffin cells, with respect to exocytosis, were not observed in neostigmine-treated 21-day-old rats and acetylcholine-treated adrenal slices prepared from 21-day-old rats. Catecholamine release was hardly evoked by acetylcholine in these slices as judged by measuring the catecholamine content in the medium. These results indicate that the sensitivity of the chromaffin cells to these secretagogues in 21-day-old rats is very low when compared to that in young adult rats.
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ABSTRACT: Embedment-free electron microscopy using polyethylene glycol as a transient embedment has revealed that slender strands, originally termed microtrabeculae and microtrabecular lattices, interconnect every organelle and conventional cytoskeletons as well as plasma membranes, resulting in the formation of 3-D meshworks in all portions of the cytoplasmic matrix of every cell. The microtrabeculae correspond well to the wispy components in the cytoplasmic matrix of conventionally epoxy-sectioned cell specimens that have been looked at but often neglected because of their poorly defined images due to the presence of embedding media having a substantial electron-scattering property. Because of the occurrence of similar meshworks in specimens that are supposed to be unstructured, such as the intramitochondrial matrix and blood plasma, together with the failure to detect any predictable changes of the microtrabecular lattices by experimental manipulation of cellular environments, it is inaccurate to conclude that all microtrabecular lattice represent structures equivalent to those in a living state of cells simply because of their clear appearance. Instead, three possible interpretations are newly proposed for the biological significance of the microtrabecular lattices. The first is that the appearance of lattices represents the presence of proteins, and that their approximate concentrations are speculated based on the compactness of the lattice. The second is that when an intracellular microdomain composed of more compact lattices is contiguous with another domain composed of looser lattices in a given cell, the former might represent the gelated state and the latter the solated state. Possible examples for these two interpretations are also proposed, possibly leading us to further elaborate the significance of microtrabecular lattices.
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