Sensory cells of the "rod-" and "cone-type" in the pineal organ of Rana esculenta, as revealed by immunoreaction against opsin and by the presence of an oil (lipid) droplet

Cell Tissue Res. 1985;240(1):143-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00217567.


The pineal organ of the frog, Rana esculenta, was studied by use of light- and electron-microscopic methods including immunoreaction against opsin. Most of the morphologically classified cone-type outer segments of the pineal photoreceptors reacted with antisera against opsin of the bovine retina that is dominated by rods. Some of the outer segments of pineal photoreceptor cells remained unstained in accord with the reference tissue, the frog retina, where generally the rods were opsin-positive and most of the cones opsin-negative. The opsin-negative outer segments of pineal photoreceptors were found in continuity with inner segments each containing a large oil (lipid) droplet. These oil droplets stained intensely with osmic acid, Sudan III, Sudan Black B or Scharlach R in cryostat sections, and were soluble in lipid solvents. In ultrathin sections of osmicated material, the oil droplets were homogeneous and of varying electron density. Approximately one tenth of the pineal photoreceptors contained oil droplets and at the same time possessed opsin-immunonegative outer segments. Since in the retina oil droplets and a negative immunoreaction against bovine opsin are characteristic of cones, we suggest that in the pineal organ they also mark "cone-type" photoreceptors scattered among "rod-type" photoreceptors, the latter displaying a positive immunoreaction with the antisera used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eye Proteins / immunology*
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Immunochemistry
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Pineal Gland / cytology*
  • Pineal Gland / metabolism
  • Pineal Gland / ultrastructure
  • Rana esculenta / anatomy & histology*
  • Rod Opsins


  • Eye Proteins
  • Rod Opsins