The paper contains a description of the fine structure of the thyroid gland of the normal rat.
The follicular colloid, a homogeneous substance of faintly granular texture, is bounded by cuboidal or low columnar epithelial cells. Numerous pleomorphic microvilli, often permeated by small vesicles extend from the apices of the epithelial cells into the colloid. Many small, membrane-limited vesicles lie in the superficial cytoplasmic layer just below the apical plasmalemma. The ergastoplasmic sacs of the follicular cells are dilated and contain a substance resembling colloid. They are of irregular outline, and the larger sacs tend to be located in the base of the cells. The Golgi apparatus lies in the vicinity of the nucleus and consists primarily of numerous small, membrane-bound droplets with a homogeneous content. Droplets, similar to the Golgi vesicles but larger, lie in the same vicinity and are tentatively identified as colloid droplets. The colloid droplets contain an extremely fine, dense particulate material. Other droplets with a denser, more heterogenous content are also present.
Both the follicular cells and the perifollicular capillaries are bounded by a continuous basement membrane. The capillary endothelium is in certain regions extremely attenuated and is pierced by numerous patent pores, 450 A in diameter.
The marked similarity between the presumptive colloid droplets and vesicles of the Golgi apparatus suggests that the droplets arise from this organelle. On morphological grounds alone no relation can be established between any of the organelles of the follicular cell and the process of colloid resorption.