Scanning Microscopy


X-ray microanalysis was used to study the elemental composition of the rat parathyroid gland. Analyses were performed in morphologically defined cells. Use of semi-thin cryosections allowed us to selectively analyze cell nucleus, cytoplasm and occasionally dense granules in the cytoplasm.

The concentration of elements (mmol/kg dry weight) in chief cells of parathyroid gland were as follows: Na 83, Mg 48, P 853, S 224, Cl 164, K 551 and Ca 10. Significantly higher phosphorus and potassium concentrations were found in the dense granules as compared to cytoplasm of the parathyroid chief cells. Choosing rat parathyroid gland gave the possibility to exclusively analyze chief cells. Data obtained from such a homogenous cell population will be of interest when studying human parathyroid in which chief cells are mixed together with other types of cells.

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