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LYSOSOMES AND GERL IN NORMAL AND CHROMATOLYTIC NEURONS OF THE RAT GANGLION NODOSUM

Eric Holtzman, Alex B. Novikoff, Humberto Villaverde

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The rat ganglion nodosum was used to study chromatolysis following axon section. After fixation by aldehyde perfusion, frozen sections were incubated for enzyme activities used as markers for cytoplasmic organelles as follows: acid phosphatase for lysosomes and GERL (a Golgi-related region of smooth endoplasmic reticulum from which lysosomes appear to develop) (31–33); inosine diphosphatase for endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus; thiamine pyrophosphatase for Golgi apparatus; acetycholinesterase for Nissl substance (endoplasmic reticulum); NADH-tetra-Nitro BT reductase for mitochondria. All but the mitochondrial enzyme were studied by electron microscopy as well as light microscopy. In chromatolytic perikarya there occur disruption of the rough endoplasmic reticulum in the center of the cell and segregation of the remainder to the cell periphery. Golgi apparatus, GERL, mitochondria and lysosomes accumulate in the central region of the cell. GERL is prominent in both normal and operated perikarya. Electron microscopic images suggest that its smooth endoplasmic reticulum produces a variety of lysosomes in several ways: (a) coated vesicles that separate from the reticulum; (b) dense bodies that arise from focal areas dilated with granular or membranous material; (c) "multivesicular bodies" in which vesicles and other material are sequestered; (d) autophagic vacuoles containing endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes, presumably derived from the Nissl material, and mitochondria. The number of autophagic vacuoles increases following operation.