This study characterizes the cytochemical properties of the Golgi complex, the structure which corresponds to Golgi complex-endoplasmic reticulum-lysosomes (GERL), and the granule population in luteal cells of guinea pigs at the time of maximum progesterone secretion, in material fixed by vascular perfusion, a method particularly suited for preserving both fine structure and enzyme activity. The distribution of several marker enzymes was determined by electron microscope cytochemistry. Acid phosphatase (ACPase) and arylsulfatase were used to identify structures containing lysosomal proteins. To resolve specific problems, additional cytochemical markers were employed: localization of thiamine pyrophosphatase (TPPase) (in the Golgi complex) and alkaline phosphatase (ALPase) (a plasma membrane marker), and prolonged osmication (a generally accepted method of marking the outer cisterna of the Golgi complex). The results demonstrate that at the time of peak steroid secretion the Golgi complex in luteal cells, in marked contrast to that of most other cell types, typically displays intense ACPase activity in all of its cisternae. Similarly, all Golgi cisternae stain after prolonged osmication and may show TPPase activity. On the other hand, GERL in luteal cells of this age, unlike that in most cells, commonly shows low levels of, or lacks, ACPase activity. However, GERL resembles that of other cell types in being TPPase-negative and in being unstained by treatment with aqueous OsO4. GERL and some Golgi cisternae are reactive for ALPase. The granule population in luteal cells of this stage consists of lysosomes, multivesicular bodies, electrontransparent vacuoles, and microperoxisome-like bodies. These results form a base line with which luteolytic changes described in the companion study (Paavola, L.G. 1978. The corpus luteum of the guinea pig. III. Cytochemical studies on the Golgi complex and GERL during normal postpartum regression of luteal cells, emphasizing the origin of lysosomes and autophagic vacuoles. J. Cell. Biol. 79:59--73.) can be compared.

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