Two morphologic characteristics have been used to define the nonciliated bronchiolar epithelial cell: abundant agranular endoplasmic reticulum (AER) and membrane-bound ovoid granules. To assess the ultrastructural homogeneity of this cell type in the lungs of large domestic mammals used as experimental models in pulmonary research, we evaluated lungs of horse, steer, sheep, dog, and cat. Bronchioles of known anatomic location were examined by electron microscopy following fixation by airway infusion at standard pressure and processing by selective embedding techniques. Nonciliated bronchiolar epithelium of the horse and sheep had numerous ovoid granules (averaging above 15 per cell) and abundant AER. Granules were scarce (averaging less than 2 per cell) in steer and dog and absent in cat. AER was minimal in these species compared to horse and sheep. Glycogen was the dominant cytoplasmic feature in steer, dog, and cat, variable in sheep and rare in horse. Large mitochondria with few cristae and densely staining matrix were present only in cat. We concluded that nonciliated bronchiolar cells of horse and sheep were similar in essential features to this cell type in laboratory mammals, having granules and AER in abundance, while those of steer, dog, and cat were not.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Clinical Biochemistry