The localization and characterization of carbohydrates in adrenal medullary cells were studied by histochemical and cytochemical methods. Adrenaline (A)-and noradrenaline (N)-storing granules were argentaphobic when ultrathin sections of Araldite-embedded medullae were stained according to the periodic acid-thiocarbohydrazide-silver proteinate technique of Thiery. A small amount of glycogen in the form of single beta-particles as well as lysosomes were, however, visualized by this technique. The entire core of the A granules was markedly positive after ultrathin sections of glutaraldehyde-fixed, glycol methacrylate (GMA)-embedded medullae were stained with phosphotungstic acid (PTA) at low pH (0.3). The N granules, in contrast, were mostly unreactive. In the A cells, PTA stained a large part of the Golgi complex, whereas in the N cells the Golgi complex was mostly unstained. In both cell types, the cell coat, lysosomes, and multivesticular bodies reacted to PTA. The periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) technique showed A but not N granules in semithin sections of GMA- or Araldite-embedded medullae. The PTA and PAS stains were abolished by acetylation, restored by saponification, unchanged by methylation, and greatly diminished by sulfation. In ultrathin sections of GMA- or Araldite-embedded medullae incubated with colloidal iron according to various techniques, the cell coat and lysosomes of both cell types were stained, unlike all the other cytoplasmic organelles. These results indicate that A granules and the Golgi complex of A cells, unlike the same structures in N cells, are rich in glycoproteins which are probably not acidic.

This content is only available as a PDF.