In the mammary glands of lactating albino mice injected intravenously with 9, 10-oleic acid-3H or 9, 10-palmitic acid-3H, it has been shown that the labeled fatty acids are incorporated into mammary gland glycerides. The labeled lipid in the mammary gland 1 min after injection was in esterified form (> 95%), and the radioautographic reaction was seen over the rough endoplasmic reticulum and over lipid droplets, both intracellular and intraluminal. At 10–60 min after injection, the silver grains were concentrated predominantly over lipid droplets. There was no concentration of radioactivity over the granules in the Golgi apparatus, at any time interval studied. These findings were interpreted to indicate that after esterification of the fatty acid into glycerides in the rough endoplasmic reticulum an in situ aggregation of lipid occurs, with acquisition of droplet form. The release of the lipid into the lumen proceeds directly and not through the Golgi apparatus, in contradistinction to the mode of secretion of casein in the mammary gland or of lipoprotein in the liver. The presence of strands of endoplasmic reticulum attached to intraluminal lipid droplets provides a structural counterpart to the milk microsomes described in ruminant milk.

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