Ultrastructure of the principal and accessory submandibular glands of the common vampire bat.

Research paper by B B Tandler, K K Toyoshima, C J CJ Phillips

Indexed on: 01 Dec '90Published on: 01 Dec '90Published in: The American journal of anatomy


The principal and accessory submandibular glands of the common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus, were examined by electron microscopy. The secretory endpieces of the principal gland consist of serous tubules capped at their blind ends by mucous acini. The substructure of the mucous droplets and of the serous granules varies according to the mode of specimen preparation. With ferrocyanide-reduced osmium postfixation, the mucous droplets are moderately dense and homogeneous; the serous granules often have a polygonal outline and their matrix shows clefts in which bundles of wavy filaments may be present. With conventional osmium postfixation, the mucous droplets have a finely fibrillogranular matrix; the serous granules are homogeneously dense. Mucous cells additionally contain many small, dense granules that may be small peroxisomes, as well as aggregates of 10-nm cytofilaments. Intercalated duct cells are relatively unspecialized. Striated ducts are characterized by highly folded basal membranes and vertically oriented mitochondria. Luminal surfaces of all of the secretory and duct cells have numerous microvilli, culminating in a brush borderlike affair in the striated ducts. The accessory gland has secretory endpieces consisting of mucous acini with small mucous demilunes. The acinar mucous droplets contain a large dense region; the lucent portion has punctate densities. Demilune mucous droplets lack a dense region and consist of a light matrix in which fine fibrillogranular material is suspended. A ring of junctional cells, identifiable by their complex secretory granules, separates the mucous acini from the intercalated ducts. The intercalated ducts lack specialized structure. Striated ducts resemble their counterparts in the principal gland. As in the principal gland, all luminal surfaces are covered by an array of microvilli. At least some of the features of the principal and accessory submandibular glands of the vampire bat may be structural adaptations to the exigencies posed by the exclusively sanguivorous diet of these animals and its attendant extremely high intake of sodium chloride.