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Changes in the secretory acinar cells of the rat parotid gland during aging

The Anatomical Record
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
  • Chemistry


The secretory acinar cells of parotid glands from rats of varying ages have been examined by electron microscopy to determine what age-related changes occur in these cells. The most prominent change noted in these cells is the progressive increase in the amount of lipofuscin granules with age. Lipofuscin granules are membrane-bound structures consisting of lipids, other subcomponents, and a matrix. In addition, these cells contain lipid droplets that are not associated with any other components and tend to accumulate at the base of the cells in older rats. Also, many acinar cells in the glands of old rats contain altered secretory granules which appear to be in the process of degeneration. The accumulation of lipid and degenerating secretory granules appears to be related to the reduced level of cellular secretory activity in the glands of older rats. It is possible that these two types of inclusions contribute to the formation of lipofuscin granules. Lipofuscin and degenerating secretory granules are associated with acid phosphatase, which is demonstrated cytochemically, indicating that these granules are lysosomal structures.

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