Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The development of sensory structures in the pineal organ of the chick was examined by means of scanning electron microscopy from embryonic day 10 through day 12 post-hatching. At embryonic day 10, the wall of the tubules within the pineal primordium is composed of cells with unspecialized luminal surface. Differentiation of sensory structures starts at embryonic day 12 when pinealocytes and supporting cells can be distinguished. Pinealocytes are recognized by virtue of an inner segment only rarely endowed with a cilium, whereas supporting cells exhibit numerous short microvilli. Further differentiation of the sensory apparatus is achieved by development of an oval-shaped, biconcave swelling at the tip of the cilium, 1×2 μm in size, and a collar of long microvilli at the base of the inner segment. Membrane specializations of sensory cilia, however, were not detected. Since during embryonic life new tubules and follicles are continuously formed, all stages of differentiation of sensory structures are found in the chick pineal organ during the second half of the incubation period and the first two weeks after hatching. In 200-μm-thick Vibratome sections of chick-embryo pineal organs cultured in medium BM 86 Wissler for periods up to 13 days the cytodifferentiation parallels the development in vivo. Using an organ-culture system the 24-h release of melatonin into the culture medium was measured by means of radioimmunoassay after solid-phase extraction. At embryonic day 10, the 24-h secretion of melatonin was at the lower range of detection of the RIA (5 pg). The rapid increase in 24-h secretion in melatonin until hatching (∼50 μg) is approximated by an exponential curve.
Type of Medium: