The purpose of this study was to compare the natural fluorescence in the Harderian glands of the Syrian hamster, rat, mouse, Mongolian gerbil and guinea pig (both sexes). For each species, 10 animals (five males and five females) were used. Histological autofluorescence studies were performed using a fluorescence microscope (450-490 nm filter). Two different types of fluorescent cells were observed in both hamster (type AFI high intensity and type AFII, low fluorescence) and rat (type AFI, low fluorescence and type AFII, high fluorescence) Harderian glands. The fluorescence was basally located in all mice cells, whereas it was observed near the epithelial cell nuclei in the Mongolian gerbil (occupying two-thirds and one-third of the cells in males and females, respectively). A high intensity of fluorescence was present throughout the acinar cells in the guinea pig. The patterns of fluorescence identified exhibited a sexual dimorphism in all species studied. These results demonstrate that the Harderian glands of the animal species examined exhibit a variety of histological autofluorescence patterns.
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