Examined with the electron microscope, the secretory cells of the submucosal glands of Brunner in the mouse present a curious combination of the fine-structural features of both serous and mucus-secreting cells. The cells have numerous mitochondria, abundant basal ergastoplasm, dense secretory granules that bear a superficial resemblance to pancreatic zymogen granules, and an unusually extensive Golgi apparatus. The prominence of the lamellar, vesicular, and vacuolar elements of the Golgi complex facilitates detailed observation of these components. More evident than in other glandular cells, aggregates of small vesicles appear to represent the transitional elements and are vehicles for transport of the product between the ergastoplasm and the Golgi complex. The numerous vesicular evaginations of smooth-surfaced regions on cisternae of the rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum and accumulations of innumerable vesicles of similar size in the area between the nearest profiles of the ergastoplasm and the Golgi complex support this contention. The cytological characteristics and physiologic properties of Brunner's glands in various species are discussed briefly. It is concluded that the submucosal glands of the mouse are excellent material for exploration of the ultrastructural correlates of both protein and carbohydrate secretion, and it is suggested that their secretion may have functions other than those generally attributed to them, namely, chemical and mechanical protection of the duodenal surface epithelium.

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