Comparative histological and ultrastructural studies of the Harderian gland of rodents.


The Harderian glands of six rodents (the Wistar rat, the gerbils Psammomys obesus, Gerbillus gerbillus, Meriones crassus, and Meriones lybicus, and the gundi, Ctenodactylus vali) were investigated by means of light and transmission electron microscopy. In rodents, the Harderian gland consists of branching tubules, lined by a single layer of epithelial cells and possessing myoepithelial cells within their basal lamina. The Harderian gland contains porphyrins, stored as intraluminal masses. The glandular epithelium presents a single cell type (I) in Psammomys obesus, two cell types (I, II) in Ctenodactylus vali and the Wistar rat, and three cells types (I, II, III) in Gerbillus gerbillus, M. crassus, and M. lybicus. The type I and II cells are columnar, characterized by lipid vacuoles and well-developed profiles of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum. In Meriones and Gerbillus, the type I cell can be distinguished from the type II cell by cytoplasmic clefts. In Ctenodactylus vali, the type I cell is characterized by cytoplasmic rod-shaped crystalloid structures. These structures are also present in the sole cell type of Psammomys obesus. In the Wistar rat, the two cell types are distinguished by the number and the size of the lipid vacuoles. The content of the vacuole is released primarily by exocytosis, but holocrine and apocrine secretion was also noted. The type III cell is pyramidal, characterized by numerous mitochondria, and has an extraordinarily well-developed granular endoplasmic reticulum organized in concentric lamellae in Gerbillus gerbillus. The single excretory duct begins at the hilus. Mast cells, plasma cells, macrophages, fenestrated capillaries, and unmyelinated nerve endings with clear or dense-cored vesicles are present in the connective tissue. Melanocytes are predominant in the gland interstices of Psammomys obesus. The gland is surrounded by a thin connective tissue capsule, covered with the endothelium of the orbital venous sinus.

Cite this paper

@article{Djeridane1996ComparativeHA, title={Comparative histological and ultrastructural studies of the Harderian gland of rodents.}, author={Yasmina Djeridane}, journal={Microscopy research and technique}, year={1996}, volume={34 1}, pages={28-38} }