Sympathetic ganglia of the horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, were fixed in OsO4 and imbedded in methacrylate. Thin sections were cut for electron microscopy. Some adjacent thick sections were cut for light microscopy and were stained in acidified, dilute thionine both before and after digestion by RNase.
In the light microscope two types of Nissl bodies are found, both removable by RNase: (1) a deep, diffuse, indistinctly bounded, metachromatic variety, and (2) a superficial, dense, sharply delimited, orthochromatic sort.
Electron microscopically, the former ("reticular" Nissl bodies) corresponds to the granulated endoplasmic reticular structure of Nissl material previously described by others, whereas the latter ("areticular" Nissl bodies) comprises compact masses of particles of varying internal density and devoid of elements of endoplasmic reticulum. The constituent particles of the areticular Nissl material are 4 to 8 x the diameter of single ribonucleoprotein granules of the reticular Nissl substance and seem, near zones of junction with the reticular type, to arise by clustering of such granules with subsequent partial dispersion of the substance of the granules into an added, less dense material.
It is suggested that the observed orthochromasia of the areticular Nissl substance is due to accumulation of a large amount of protein bound to RNA and, further, that these Nissl bodies may represent storage depots of RNA and protein.