Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The macula densa (MD) site of the kidney, at which the distal tubule is attached to the vascular pole of the glomerulus, was examined with the light microscope in domestic fowl and Japanese quail; and in the fowl also with the electron microscope. The characteristics of mammalian MD cells, as reported in the literature, are compared with those of the cells in the avian MD site. The avian cells possess some of the characteristics of mammalian MD cells and they are distinguishable from the cells in adjacent portions of the distal tubule. The Golgi system in the avian cells is apical to the nucleus, unlike in mammals where its location is basal. The cells in the avian MD sites can be considered as structurally transitional between the typical MD cells in mammals and the ordinary cells of the distal tubule. These findings are discussed in relation to the function of the avian kidney and to its control by the renin mechanism.
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