The ultrastructure of pinealocytes was examined morphometrically in superior cervical ganglionectomized and sham-operated cotton rats. Following denervation, the pinealocytes decreased in size. Reduced areas of the nucleoli, Golgi apparatus, granular endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and vacuoles containing a flocculent material as well as a decreased number of dense-core vesicles were noted. In contrast, the numbers of "synaptic" ribbons and ribbon fields increased. The nature of ultrastructural changes observed in the cotton rat pinealocyte after sympathectomy may indicate a diminution of the presumptive secretory processes of this cell. The presence of a small number of myelinated and unmyelinated axons in the pineal gland of the cotton rat following superior cervical ganglionectomy suggests that the sympathetic nerve fibers from the superior cervical ganglia do not comprise the only source of innervation to the pineal. Additionally, the presence of striated muscle fibers has been observed in the present study in the pineal gland of the cotton rat which heretofore has not been reported in this species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology