Ultrastructural and cytochemical studies of the oviduct Public Deposited



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  • The ultrastructure of the oviduct and the hormonal induced alterations in the cellular organelles of prepubertal and ovariectomized rabbits have been studied with electron-microscopic histochemical methods. The pseudostratified epithelium of the oviduct in prepubertal rabbits contained both ciliated and secretory cells. The secretory cells showed apocrine projections filled with electron-dense secretory granules. The oviductal cilium consisted of the characteristic 9+2 fibrils in the central core. The cytoplasm of the ciliated cells contained only a few granular endoplasmic reticulum as compared to the secretory cells. Multivesicular and dense bodies resembling lysosomes were present in the apical cytoplasm. Cells of the oviductal epithelium underwent characteristic changes in response to oophorectomy and ovarian steroids. The alterations seen six weeks after oophorectomy in the fine structure of the ciliated and secretory cells of the fimbria have been described. The most striking feature observed following oophorectomy was the disappearance of cilia and the occurrence of rather bizarre forms of basal bodies and mitochondria in the apical cytoplasm. Polysomal formations were less frequent indicating a reduced level of protein synthesis. The secretory cells contained poorly developed endoplasmic reticulum, relatively inactive Golgi apparatus and occasionally a few electron-dense secretory granules. The most obvious change after hormonal stimulation was the regeneration of cilia and basal bodies in the ciliated cells from all the regions of the Fallopian tube and the frequent extrusion of mucinlike secretory granules into the tubal lumen. Extreme dilation of the cisternae of the granular endoplasmic reticulum, the presence of numerous polyribosomes and many secretory granules were observed in the cytoplasm of the secretory cells. The contribution of the granular endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus in the formation of secretory granules was discussed. Evidence in support of the view that estrogens stimulate the growth of the cilia has been presented in this study. Stages in the formation of cilia and basal bodies were also observed. An interesting feature hitherto not reported was the presence of cross-striated rootlets in some ciliated cells in response to estrogen stimulation. This study has reported for the first time the estrogen and progesterone induced changes in the subcellular localization of the hydrolytic enzymes, adenosine triphosphatase and acid phosphatase in the Fallopian tube of rabbits. ATPase activity was found to be localized on the cell membranes, outer membranes of cilia and microvilli, and peripheral fibrils of cilia and basal bodies. The presence of this enzyme on the inner membrane of mitochondria, the membrane of the cristae and in the matrix of mitochondria was also demonstrated. The activity of ATPase in the oviduct epithelium was significantly reduced following oophorectomy. Estrogen and progesterone induced significant increases in the activity of ATPase on the cell membranes, cilia and microvilli. There appeared to be a synergistic reaction when the two hormones were given simultaneously. Deposits of the reaction product were also observed in the Golgi apparatus, in the luminal membrane of the capillary endothelium, and in the micropinocytic vesicles of the smooth muscle cell and capillary endothelium. It is suggested that one of the mechanisms by which ovarian steroid hormones exert their effect on the oviductal cell is the utilization of energy from high energy phosphate bonds on the cell membranes for transport of materials between individual cells. Preliminary studies on the fine structure localization of acid phosphatase in the oviductal epithelium have revealed the activity of this enzyme in the Golgi saccules, secretory granules, secretory material, outer cell membrane and microvilli. Acid phosphatase activity was also present within the large membrane-bound bodies, most of which were similar to the dense bodies described in other cells. Reinterpretation of fine structure changes in the rabbit Fallopian tube has been presented in accord with current advances in oviduct physiology and biochemistry. The possible roles of adenosine triphosphatase and acid phosphatase and the pitfalls in electron microscopic studies of cytochemistry were also discussed.
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