Scanning Microscopy


A detailed correlative morphologic description using light microscopy (LM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and high resolution SE-I scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was conducted on the capillary endothelium of the zona-fasciculata (Z-F) in juvenile male rhesus monkeys. The glucocorticoid synthesis and release phenomena, associated with stress stimulated release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, intimately involves capillaries of the Z-F. A comprehensive study of all the ultrastructural features implicated in the transendothelial uptake of steroidogenic precursors and release of glucocorticoids in perfused rhesus adrenals has not previously been made. This report presents correlative images of transendothelial openings that include previously described single diaphragmed fenestrae and plasmalemma vesicles, and double diaphragmed transendothelial channels. New observations of endothelial cell pockets, tight junctional complexes and membrane filled ghost sacs were recorded from perfused rhesus adrenal. Membranous ghosts associated with adrenocortical endothelium were reported in a previous TEM study of perfused rat, however the potential argument existed that ghosts were artifactual. Their role as steroid hormone releasing structures remains an open question, yet their structural characteristics appear justified based on imaging of identical profiles observed in perfused rhesus adrenocortical specimens. These structural features are considered for the potential of gating and sorting of metabolites, and release of glucocorticoids in response to ACTH stimulated stress events.

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