Phospholipid content and lamellar structures in the epididymal epithelial cells of rats treated chronically with lead acetate [Pb(II)]
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The electron-microscopic observations accomplished covered epididymal epithelial cells of rats receiving lead acetate for five times longer than the duration of one spermatogenesis. These cells were found to possess a large number of vacuoles and conglomerates containing plicated membranes or tightly packed myelin-like lamellar formations. Further observations also revealed the formation of lamellar structures in mitochondria, dilatation of cisternae in the Golgi apparatus, and increased phagocytosis of spermatozoa by epithelial cells. The presence of a large amount of membranous material correlated with the increased content of phospholipids in epididymal epithelial cells. It may be suggested that the presence of such a great quantity of lamellar structures in epididymal epithelial cells of rats treated chronically with lead is the result of several processes, including the augmented synthesis of membranes associated with encircling the deposits of lead, autophagy in the cells, as well as intensified phagocytosis of spermatozoa.
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B. Wiszniewska, Department of Histology and Embryology, Pomeranian Medical Academy, Powstancow Wlkp. 72, 70-111 Szczecin, Poland.