The ultrastructure of the postnatal development of the secretory cells within the ventral prostate gland was studied in the protein‐calorie malnourished rat. Twenty‐day‐old Sprague‐Dawley rats were fed either a low protein diet (LPD) containing % protein in the form of vitamin free casein or a standard laboratory diet (SLD) containing 27% protein. Animals maintained on the LPD and SLD were sacrificed every 7 days, beginning on Day 27 and ending on Day 55. The ventral prostate glands were perfused by whole body vascular perfusion via the left ventricle and processed for electron microscopy. The secretory cells of the prostates of the SLD‐fed rats demonstrated progressive development of the organelles involved in protein synthesis which included an increase in cisternal profiles of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), an enlargement of the Golgi apparatus, and an increase in the number of mature secretory granules. On the other hand, the growth of the secretory cells of the animals fed the LPD was retarded. The cells had an overall reduction in RER, the elements of the Golgi complex and the size of the nuclei as compared to age‐matched controls. Additionally, they were characterized by an increase in various vacuole‐like structures along with a concomitant decrease in mature secretory granules. These morphological observations suggest that protein‐calorie malnutrition impedes both the development of the ventral prostate gland and the secretory activity of its epithelial cells.
- prostate gland
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