In light microscopy, the cytoplasm of mucous gland cells appears light. Frequently it is structured like a honeycomb. The flattened nuclei are located in the basal cell space (see Figs. 130, 378). As in serous glands, cells from mucous glands produce many secretory granules, which will finally occupy the entire cell body (see Fig. 125). Electron microscopy shows different patterns of density for the mucus droplets. These droplets will fuse with each other, especially in the apical cell region, and lose their cell membranes in the process. The mucous droplets are so densely packed that they will supplant other cell organelles and inclusions. Only small cytosol septa are left between the secretory granules. At the cell periphery is a narrow layer of cytoplasm, which contains the mitochondria, other cell organelles and, in the basal cell region, the flattened nucleus. This figure shows mucus droplets in submandibular gland cells. Neighboring cells interconnect via cell processes. The basal region contains myoepithelial [2 cells.
Mucins can be selectively stained using special staining procedures, e.g., Al-cian blue staining or the PAS reaction (mucin staining; see Fig.428b).
1 Secretory granules
2 Myoepithelial cell
3 Gland lumen
4 Intercellular space, can be recognized as cell border using light microscopy
Electron microscopy; magnification: x 7800
Extraepithelial glands consist of many epithelial cells in an organized group with the attributes of an organ. They originate with the surface epithelium. During their development, they become part of the underlying connective tissue. However, they maintain open connections to the surface epithelium via secretory ducts (ductus excretorii). The terminal portion of a serous gland duct has the form of an acinus (cf. Figs. 132, 379-381, 455-459). The mostly E cone-shaped serous gland cells show polar differentiation. They display round nuclei and an elaborate ergastoplasm (basal basophilia, cf. Figs. 18,19). Staining clearly reveals secretory granules in the supranuclear cell space. The cytoplasm is therefore granulated (cf. Figs. 379-381, 455, 457). The acinar uT lumina are narrow. Between glandular cells are intercellular secretory duc-o tules (see Figs. 127). Staining will only marginally bring out the cell borders. "a Serous gland cells secrete an easy flowing solution of proteins and enzymes. The serous gland in this preparation is from parotid gland, which is an exclusively serous gland. There are fat cells □ between the acini. This figure shows two acini, one (on the left) was cut across the axis, and another connecting duct (in the right upper corner) was cut lengthwise (cf. Figs. 379-381).
U 1 Fat cells 2 Acinus
Stain: hematoxylin-eosin; magnification: x 200
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