An electron microscopic study of lipid absorption in the pyloric caeca of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdnerii) fed wax ester--rich zooplankton

Cell Tissue Res. 1979 Sep 1;200(3):475-86. doi: 10.1007/BF00234857.


Rainbow trout were killed 4 and 18 h after being fed wax ester-rich marine zooplankton and the absorptive epithelium of the pyloric caeca examined by electron microscopy. Numerous osmiophilic drops were seen in the lamina propria underlying the epithelium of fish killed at both times, but these drops were only abundant within columnar epithelial cells of fish killed 4 h after feeding. Pinocytotic profiles were not common at the luminal plasma membranes, nor were osmiophilic droplets seen in the terminal web area between the luminal plasma membrane and the extensive smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Numerous osmiophilic droplets, 30--100 nm in diameter, were present in the cisternae of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum with up to five separate droplets per individual cisterna. Columnar epithelial cells also contained up to 100 large osmiophilic drops ("conglomerates") which tended to be concentrated in the supranuclear (Golgi) regions. The conglomerates were 250--1200 nm in diameter and were themselves made up of smaller droplets 30--400 nm in diameter. Conglomerates were present both within intracellular membranes and free in the cytoplasm. Osmiophilic droplets in the intercellular spaces and lamina propria were similar in size to individual droplets within conglomerates. We conclude that triacylglycerols are elaborated in the smooth endoplasmic reticulum, transferred to and processed in the Golgi region and finally discharged serosally as chylomicron-like particles of not greater than 400 nm diameter.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / ultrastructure
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Microvilli / ultrastructure
  • Plankton*
  • Pylorus / metabolism*
  • Pylorus / ultrastructure
  • Trout
  • Waxes
  • Zooplankton*


  • Waxes