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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 10 - Digestive System

Plate 10.211 Submandibular Gland

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

Striated ducts

Plate 10.211 Submandibular Gland

Human, Zenker's fluid, H. & E., 612 x


Mucous cells: Nuclei flattened and pushed to the basal part of the cell by secretory droplets. Purely mucous alveoli are not frequent in human submandibular gland.

Serous cells: Pyramidal in shape, darkly staining, with indistinct cell boundaries. Nuclei are more rounded and are pushed to the base of the cell by secretory droplets (zymogen granules) in some cells.

Mixed alveolus: Made up of serous and mucous cells. In mixed alveoli, serous cells cap mucous alveoli (so-called demilune) or line terminal portions of mucous alveoli.

Striated ducts: So-called because of prominent basal striations. These ducts are long and very conspicuous in sections of the submandibular gland. Lined by columnar cells with apically placed nuclei. Electron microscopy reveals the striations to be invaginations of the basal plasma membrane, with rows of elongated mitochondria in the pockets thus formed. The striated ducts play a role in secretion and absorption of salts and thereby modify the composition of the saliva produced by the secretory cells. The secretory product enters the oral cavity near the frenulum of the tongue. The submandibular gland produces about two thirds of the daily output of 1 liter of saliva. The saliva from this gland is a viscid solution containing mucin, salts, and the enzyme amylase.

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