A distinctive cytoplasmic inclusion consisting of a convoluted network of electron-opaque strands embedded in a less dense matrix was identified in the neurons, but not in the supporting cells, of rat sympathetic ganglia. This ball-like structure, designated "nematosome," measures ∼ 0.9 µ and lacks a limiting membrane. Its strands (diameter = 400–600 A) appear to be made of an entanglement of tightly packed filaments and particles ∼ 25–50 A thick. Cytochemical studies carried out with the light microscope suggest the presence of nonhistone proteins and some RNA. Usually only one such structure is present in a cell, and it appears to occur in most ganglion cells. Although they can be seen anywhere in the cell body, nematosomes are typically located in the perinuclear cytoplasm, where they are often associated with smooth-surfaced and coated vesicles. In fine structure and stainability, they bear a resemblance to the fibrous component of the nucleolus. Subsynaptic formations, which are a special feature of some of the synapses in sympathetic ganglia, appear similar to the threadlike elements in the nematosomes. The possibility that these three structures—nucleolus, nematosome, and subsynaptic formation—may be interrelated in origin and function is discussed.

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