A series of representative cell types including avian fibroblasts, and macrophages; rabbit mesothelia, endothelia, and nephron epithelia; and rat glandular epithelia (parotid) were studied comparatively in vitro and in situ with the electron microscope. Cells in vitro were examined in whole mounts and in sections whereas cells in situ were observed exclusively in sections.
It was found that an endoplasmic reticulum similar to that previously described in cultured material is present in situ in all cell types examined.
Modifications in its appearance introduced by the sectioning technique were discussed and explained. The observations showed in addition that the endoplasmic reticulum is a network of cavities which may enlarge into relatively vast, flattened vesicles here described as cisternae.