The two distinct types of cytoplasm seen with the light microscope in the adipose cell of the leech Glossiphonia complanata have been identified in the electron microscope image of this cell.
One of these, the basophil cytoplasm, contains many well oriented, paired membranes which are much more clearly evident when calcium ions are added to the fixative. The membranes sometimes appear as concentric arrays of lamellae and are thought to represent sections through a phospholipide-containing body. The paired membranes and the concentric lamellae have granules attached to them and resemble in size and structure the membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum encountered in many mammalian cells.
Small dense cytoplasmic particles are present throughout the cell; they may be ferritin molecules, derived from the breakdown of haemoglobin taken in as food.
On the basis of a previous histochemical study and the present electron microscope investigation, it is suggested that these paired membranes are similar to the organized type of mammalian ER and the results seem to confirm the belief that these membranes are composed of layers of phospholipoprotein together with attached particles of ribonucleoprotein.