A stereological model which provides detailed quantitative information on the structure of the fasted, nonstimulated gland has been developed for the guinea pig pancreas. The model consists of morphologically defined space and membrane compartments which were used to describe the general composition of the tissue and the specific components of exocrine cells. The results are presented, where appropriate, relative to a cubic centimeter of pancreas, a cubic centimeter of exocrine cell cytoplasm, and to the volume of an average exocrine cell. The exocrine cells, accounting for 82% of the pancreas volume, consisted of 54% cytoplasmic matrix, 22% rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum (RER), 8.3% nuclei, 8.1% mitochondria, 6.4% zymogen granules, and 0.7% condensing vacuoles. Their total membrane surface area was distributed as follows: 60% RER, 21% mitochondria, 9.9% Golgi apparatus, 4.8% plasma membranes, 2.6% zymogen granules, 1.8% plasma membrane vesicles, and 0.4% condensing vacuoles. The application of this model to the study of membrane movements associated with the secretory process is discussed within the framework of an analytical approach.

This content is only available as a PDF.