Scanning Electron Microscopy


Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to observe changes in the hamster endometrium cell surface following in utero pre- and/or postnatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES). Some of the changes in cell surfaces are associated with alterations in cell sizes and shapes (from columnar to cuboidal and/or squamous) and in microvilli and mucous secretion. In all cases, DES treated uteri show mucosal cell surface pleomorphism, apocrine secretion and cystic accumulation of secretory material. Microvillous pleomorphism and peculiar linkages attaching one microvillus to others were investigated. Although the function and nature of such linkages is unclear, their presence seems to be more prominent in the in utero DES treated hamster endometrium. These infrastructures may provide a support for the microvilli distributed on the mucosal cell surfaces, i.e., a morphological compromise between the single microvillous surface and the microridged structures. These interconnections may represent glycocalyx material or remodeling of cell surfaces toward squamous epithelium.

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