Fine structural observations on magnum mucosa in quail and hen oviducts

  • Helen C. Fertuck
  • James D. Newstead


Previous investigators have reported that albuminous material in the albumin-secreting (tubular gland) cells of the magnum of hen oviduct accumulates in the ergastoplasmic cisternae and is released directly into the glandular lumen without being first concentrated into secretory granules in the Golgi region (Zeigel and Dalton, 1962). Present fine structural studies on the tubular gland cells in oviducts from actively laying wild-type Japanese quail and in an oviduct from an actively laying hen indicate that the Golgi apparatus is directly involved in the formation of secretory granules. At least three types of granules can be observed in the tubular gland cells at various times, and all types seem to be associated initially with the Golgi apparatus.

In actively laying quail, the distribution of electron opaque, intermediate, and light granules within the superficial and deep regions of the glandular epithelium varies, depending on the presence of an egg in a particular region of the oviduct. Secretion of the product is merocrine, involving fusion of granule membranes with the plasmalemma of the cell surface.

Granules first appear in the tubular gland cells of quail oviducts at about 4 1/2 weeks of age. The granules are of the electron opaque type and probably represent secretion in concentrated storage form. At this age, a few of the tubular gland cells exhibit distended ergastoplasmic cisternae containing material of low electron density. The appearance of these “light” cells, which occur with greater frequency in oviducts from older quail, probably reflects an increased level of secretory activity initiated by changes in hormonal levels. From 5 weeks of age on, intermediate and light (less concentrated) granules, as well as dark granules, are present.


Oviduct Birds Magnum Protein secretion 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen C. Fertuck
    • 1
  • James D. Newstead
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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