The purpose of this investigation was to study the morphological aspects of the Harderian gland in Gerbillus tarabuli. Tissues were obtained from both male and female adult Gerbillus tarabuli and processed for light and electron microscopy. The Harderian gland in gerbil is large and well developed, covered by a thin capsule, from which thin septae extend, subdividing the gland into lobes and lobules. The endpieces of the gland are tubuloalveolar, which produce a secretion of lipid character. The glandular epithelium is pseudostratified with two types of secretory cells, the type C cells are columnar in shape with large lipid vacuoles, and type P cells pyramidal and serous, they are basally located with no luminal aspect. The epithelium possesses well-developed myoepithelial cells. The wide lumina are filled with lipid vacuoles, cellular debris, and porphyrins. The Harderian gland of the gerbil has no morphologically distinct duct system; a single extraglandular excretory duct is detected. Electron microscopic examination revealed that type C cells contain large electronlight lipid vacuoles, a well and extensive reticulum endoplasmic and a large number of mitochondria. The pyramidal cells are characterized by a small number of PAS-positive granules at the basal region; these cells exhibit one or two round nuclei, many electron-dense granules, crystalloid bodies, abundant mitochondria and many ribosomes in their cytoplasm. The three mechanism of secretion are seen in the Harderian gland of Gerbillus tarabuli. In its overall characteristics, the Harderian gland of Gerbillus tarabuli conforms to the general pattern observed in rodents. However, further research will be needed to correlate the presence of cytoplasmic slashes, crystalloids bodies and glycoproteins in epithelial cells with the biology of these animals and to their functional significance.
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Vol. 30 • No. 1