The vasopressin-producing neurons of the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system are a particularly good model with which to consider the relationship between the Golgi apparatus nd GERL and their roles in secretory granule production because these neurons increase their synthesis and secretion of vasopressin in response to hyperosmotic stress. Enzyme cytochemical techniques for acid phosphatase (AcPase) and thiamine pyrophosphatase (TPPase) activities were used to distinguish GERL from the Golgi apparatus in cell bodies of the supraoptic nucleus from normal mice, mice hyperosmotically stressed by drinking 2% salt water, and mice allowed to recover for 5-10 d from hyperosmotic stress. In nonincubated preparations of control supraoptic perikarya, immature secretory granules at the trans face of the Golgi apparatus were frequently attached to a narrow, smooth membrane cisterna identified as GERL. Secretory granules were occasionally seen attached to Golgi saccules. TPPase activity was present in one or two of the trans Golgi saccules; AcPase activity appeared in GERL and attached immature secretory granules, rarely in the trans Golgi saccules, and in secondary lysosomes. As a result of hyperosmotic stress, the Golgi apparatus hypertrophied, and secretory granules formed from all Golgi saccules and GERL. Little or no AcPase activity could be demonstrated in GERL, whereas all Golgi saccules and GERL-like cisternae were TPPase positive. During recovery, AcPase activity in GERL returned to normal; however, the elevated TPPase activity and secretory granule formation seen in GERL-like cisternae and all Golgi saccules during hyperosmotic stress persisted. These results suggest that under normal conditions GERL is the predominant site for the secretory granule formation, but during hyperosmotic stress, the Golgi saccules assume increased importance in this function. The observed cytochemical modulations in Golgi saccules and GERL suggest that GERL is structurally and functionally related to the Golgi saccules.

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