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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 2: Epithelial Tissue

Plate 2.26: Glandular Epithelium

Zymogen pancreatic acinar cells

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed

Zymogen pancreatic acinar cells


Plate 2.26: Glandular Epithelium

Rhesus monkey;
A. Glutaraldehyde-osmium fixation; toluldine blue and periodic acid-Schiff* stains;
B. Helly's fluid, Gomori's chrome alum hematoxylin; 1416 x.

The configuration of pancreatic acinar cells is seen in these two preparations.

Note the pyramidal shape of the acinar cell, the basally located round nuclei with distinct nucleoli, and two discrete zones of the cytoplasm. The apical zone near the lumen contains zymogen granules; the basal zone is intensely basophilic and free of granules. Electron microscopy has shown that the intense basophilia of the basal zone is due to its rich content of ribonucleoprotein bound to membrane (endoplasmic reticulum). Protein synthesized by the rough encloplasmic reticulum is transported to the supranuclear Golgi apparatus where zymogen (secretory) granules are formed, which are in turn transported to the apical cytoplasm, where they are discharged by exocytosis into the acinar lumen. See also Plate 213.

*Schiff, 1834-1915, was a German chemist working in Florence, and Gomori, 1904-1957, was a Hungarian histochemist working in the U.S.

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