Scanning Electron Microscopy


In an attempt to understand the hormonal regulation of somatomedin secretion in the fetus, we have confirmed that epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulates fetal rat hepatocytes in primary culture to secrete somatomedin in a time and a dose-dependent fashion. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that the cultured cells had ultrastructural features consistent with those of fetal hepatocytes. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that cells grown in either Medium 199 or EGF supplemented Medium 199 formed cellular aggregates within 6 h. The surface features of cells in control and experimental cultures were indistinguishable up until 24 h after exposure to EGF. At this point in time, morphological differences between treatment groups were first apparent with SEM. In the presence of EGF, cellular aggregates were thicker, cells were more rounded in contour, and the number of microvilli and cytoplasmic excrescences (blebs) was greater than in control cultures. These differences were further accentuated at 48 h after exposure to the growth factor. Since the appearance of microvilli and blebs coincides with increasing production of somatomedin, they may represent morphological evidence of secretory activity.

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