The pineal gland of the mole-rat (Spalax ehrenbergi, Nehring) - I. The fine structure of pinealocytes

Paul Pevet, J. Ariëns Kappers, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ultrastructure of pinealocytes of the mole-rat (Spalax ehrenbergi), a blind subterranean mammal living in complete darkness, was examined and compared with pinealocytes of other mammals. Two different populations of pinealocytes (I and II) were observed. They differed in general aspect, in location and especially in their content of cell organelles involved in synthetic processes. Mitochondria, ribosomes, granular endoplasmic reticulum, lysosomes, lipid inclusions and glycogen granules were present in the perikarya of pinealocytes of both populations. In the pinealocyte of population I some granular vesicles were occasionally observed in the cell body. Their presumed origin from the Golgi apparatus could not be clearly demonstrated. In the perikaryon of this pinealocyte, concentrations of ribosomes and of cisternae of the granular endoplasmic reticulum were constantly observed. These concentrations may indicate an intensive synthetic activity. Pinealocytes of population II were characterized by accumulations of proteinaceous material in some cisternae of the granular endoplasmic reticulum and between the two layers of the nuclear membrane. The origin of these peculiar elements is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1976


  • Mole-rat
  • Pinealocytes
  • Proteinaceous material
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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