Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The present study deals with the functionally enigmatic “synaptic” ribbons and spherules of guinea pig pinealocytes. Whereas the ribbons have been shown to exhibit a 24-hr rhythmicity with low numbers during the day and high numbers at night, very little of a definitive nature is known about the spherules. Sixteen male guinea pigs of the Hartley strain were perfusion fixed, 8 between 0900-1100 hr, and 8 between 2100-2300 hr. The ribbons and spherules were counted in the pineal parenchyma of the proximal, intermediate, and distal regions. In confirmation of earlier studies, it was found that “synaptic” ribbons are equally abundant in the proximal, intermediate, and distal regions of the gland, during both the day and the night, and that they increase significantly in number at night when compared with daytime values. The spherules, by contrast, are more abundant proximally and are present in greater numbers during the day than at night. As ribbons and spherules are usually not found in one and the same pinealocytic profile, and based on previous electrophysiological studies, it is proposed that the ribbons are morphological markers of nocturnally active pinealocytes, whereas spherules characterize diurnally active pinealocytes.
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